“I have been zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken your covenant…..I alone am left and they seek to take my life.”  1Kings 19:10

“The spirit is indeed willing, but the flesh is weak.” Mark 14:38

(Author’s Note: C.S. Lewis, a wonderful author who I greatly recommend wrote a book called The Problem of Pain.  In the forward he stated he wished to have written under another name because, while he believed in the profound, powerful things he had written, he struggled to live them in his own life.  While I pale in comparison to that great author, in this post I too feel that while I believe what I’m writing with whole heart.  Anyone knowing me would say I struggle mightily with it.)

Elijah, the great prophet of God is in hiding.  He’s running away as fast as his legs will carry him.  Just a few days previous, Elijah had been praying to God to take his life.  Elijah was one stressed out person.

What I find amazing about this is that Elijah was not new to ministry or seeing the wonders of God.  He had seen God bring a devastating drought.  He had seen God take a very little flower and turn it into meal after satisfying meal.  Through God, Elijah had brought a widow’s son back to life!

At this very moment the reason that Elijah was running was because of miraculously powerful act he performed at the request of God Almighty.  Elijah had called down Heavenly Fire upon the earth to show the power of Almighty God to the people of Israel.  Yet even with that; Elijah was stressed out; in fear for his life.

You see Elijah was a prophet of God to a people who didn’t want to hear from God.  When Elijah proclaimed the word of God, did the will of God, performed mighty acts at the bequest of God, the people; especially the rulers despised Elijah.  After Elijah’s latest act of revelation from God; showing the impotence of Baal and Baal’s priests and having the priests killed; Jezebel, the queen of Israel swore that she would have Elijah killed in the same way.  Elijah believed the queen had the power to carry out her threat, so he ran.

When God searches for and finds Elijah, God asks Elijah why is he hiding.  Elijah lays out what is stressing him.  First he is alone.  What he believes, no one else believes.  Second his experience has shown just how much people like him are hated.  They have killed all of God’s priests except Elijah and they are hunting for him.  Hated, friends dead, alone, seen as a curse, no worldly resources to call on and wanted dead; one can see where Elijah’s stress comes from.  Yet Elijah was the prophet of Almighty God wasn’t he?

Jesus Christ, God come down to earth.  Jesus Christ, with the Father from the beginning, loving and loved by His Almighty Father.  Jesus Christ, there at creation itself and with all the power of God Almighty.  Jesus Christ is stressed?  Yes Jesus Christ is feeling stress.  His time has come. His ministry is about to reach its culmination.  But to do that, Jesus is going to have to sacrifice himself.  And in that sacrifice, Jesus is not only going to have to endure the most brutal, painful type of death, but worse yet, Jesus is going to become sin.  And because He becomes sin, Jesus is going to be forsaken by His Father and allowed to die.  Yes even Jesus is stressed.

And I thank God Almighty for His plan and thank Jesus Christ for His carrying out that plan.  For, dear sisters and brothers, the most amazing thing is we have a Savior who knows what it is to feel stress.  When we are on our knees, tears streaming down our face, breathes lurching in great sobs, crying out to Jesus; our Blessed Savior can relate.  He knows what we are going through. And He knows where the stress comes from.

He told us where not only His stress, but I believe all stress comes from:  “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak!”  Now do understand; this was Jesus Christ talking.  His Spirit definitely was willing, in our case, our spirit and flesh may be weak.  Yes we are born of the flesh, not Begotten By God and so like Elijah, we can see things from a primarily flesh perspective.  Through the eyes of flesh we see no one there to help so we feel alone.  We see only eyes of hatred and derision looking at us and we become greatly afraid.  Our eyes of flesh see no earthly resources available to us so we despair and become desperate.

Yes our components may indeed be flesh, but remember this sisters and brothers, we were created by God Almighty in His image.  God breathed life into us, our very spirit, from His very breath.  It was only after receiving that breath, that we came to life. So we are creations of both flesh from elements of the earth and spirit, from the breath of Almighty God.  And it is through the spirit that we can connect to God.  It is through eyes of the spirit that we can see that we are never alone.  It is through the eyes of the spirit that we can see that we are loved forever by the Eternal King of Kings.  It is through eyes of the spirit that we can see that we have every and all resources necessary to be victorious over the dominion of the flesh.  How do we get that spirit vision?  We look to Him who experienced both visions; Jesus Christ.  We pray to Christ for the Holy Spirit which will fill us, connecting to our spirit to empower it and us to rise above the weakness of the flesh filled vision.  We, as sinners, will be weak and feel stress.  Yet, through Jesus Christ, whose life, death and resurrection has lifted us above sin, He will allow us to be conquerors of our stress as well.

Our Most Gracious Heavenly Father, we confess that we often feel stress when we look at this world; a world that hates you and all who proclaim your name.  Strengthen us, Dear Father, especially when both our wills and flesh are weak in wanting to carry out Your Will. Through the Holy Spirit, teach us to use our spiritual eyes to see the Truths of Your Love and Protection for us.  That we can for ourselves as well as showing to others what it means to be stress free.  In the Name of Jesus Christ we pray.  Amen