When Your Strength is Gone

There are times when I don’t think I can take another step, much less get through the day. Times when I carry burdens that threaten to defeat me.

I’ve heard others express similar feelings. When struggles become great and we don’t understand why or can’t see a way out, our strength tends to fail us.

It’s a lonely and frightening place to be.

So when I came across the account of the great prophet Elijah and his despair, I couldn’t quit reading. Let me take you there. 

Elijah’s Waning Strength

It was glorious…and terrifying. Elijah, confident in his God, called down the power of the Lord on King Ahab and the Baal worshipers

At the time for offering the evening sacrifice, Elijah the prophet approached the altar and said, “Yahweh, God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, today let it be known that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that at Your word I have done all these things. Answer me, Lord! Answer me so that this people will know that You, Yahweh, are God and that You have turned their hearts back.” 

Then Yahweh’s fire fell and consumed the burnt offering, the wood, the stones, and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench….

The power of the Lord was on Elijah, and he tucked his mantle under his belt and ran ahead of Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel. 1 Kings 18: 36-38, 46

Two sentences later, Elijah’s confidence seemed to wane as he ran away, fearful for his life. His burdens overwhelmed him and he fell to the ground in despair.

Then Elijah became afraid and immediately ran for his life…. He sat down under a broom tree and prayed that he might die. He said, “I have had enough! Lord, take my life, for I’m no better than my fathers.” Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. 1 Kings 19:3-5a

God Provides of Himself

“I have had enough!” How often do we echo that in our own lives? 


But the Lord didn’t let Elijah stay there. It’s fascinating to read how God strengthened his prophet when he felt unable to go on.

Twice an “angel of the LORD” admonished Elijah to “Get up and eat” and then provided food for the journey (1 Kings 19:5b, 7b). And a little further into the passage, the Lord Himself spoke, and even appeared, to his prophet, insisting Elijah “Go out” and “Go and return” (1 Kings 19:11, 15).

Not only did God provide Elijah with physical sustenance in the form of food and water, but He also showed up Himself to refresh His servant.

Although this scene begins dramatically, its ending seems a bit anti-climatic: Elijah simply “left there” (1 Kings 19:19). Yet when we look closely, it’s anything but unimpressive!

Here is a man who loves God, who has served Him all his life, but is now totally spent, physically and emotionally. He wants nothing more than for God to take him to heaven right then and there.

Instead God meets Elijah in his need. He provides of Himself to nourish and replenish.

Talk about an amazing picture of God’s love in action! 

Being Met and Kept

And the best thing is the Lord provides for us as well.

Emmanuel, “God With Us” is with us and in us to nourish and replenish each one of us.

Emmanuel, 'God With Us' is with us and in us to nourish and replenish each one of us. Click To Tweet 

Dropping the name “Emmanuel” may seem like a Christmas thing, but God doesn’t wait until Christmas to provide. 

When our burdens become more than we can bear… When we can’t possibly take one more step, the Lord meets us there. When our strength is gone, He provides the sustenance to go on. 

When our burdens become more than we can bear, the Lord meets us. Click To Tweet

So when you find yourself emotionally and physically spent, “get up and eat” of the Lord. Let His Word, His very presence lift you up, so you too can “go” and do His will.

 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying: “Who should I send? Who will go for Us?” I said: “Here I am. Send me.” Isaiah 6:8

Reflection: As you read the passages I quoted, did you find yourself relating to the Prophet Elijah in his confidence or his despair? Why?

Since beginning more than 3 years ago, I’ve counted more than 3,000 gifts in Ann Voskamp’s Joy Dare! What a blessing! So here we go: #3345–3365, read the entire list by clicking here.

  • A little girl who is finally feeling better; Fluffy kittens, one that looks like Garfield; Night ending with Hobbit read-out-loud and game of Cribbage
  • Awoke to the first snowfall of the season; An unexpected day away with my hubby; Woodstove fired up
  • Digging deep into the Word with a friend; Flurries softly falling; Giving hugs to all the “littles” at church who are no longer so little
  • Flock of turkey greeting me in the morning; Gift of sweet hymns and the stories behind them; Rachel “speak” when she’s excited – can’t understand most of it, but it is so cute!
  •  Making & eating raspberry/white chocolate scones; Little Legos war with Joey; Friday night family movie laughs with Ice Age: Continental Drift
  • Rachel and her wonderful helper prepared both items for tomorrow’s church potluck; Rachel wanted to run her own bath water and brush her own teeth tonight; Humble beginnings of our Thanksgiving tree Thanksgiving-tree-items
  • Thanksgiving potluck at church with great food and fellowship; News that Pastor and his family are staying; Wrestling with my Joey

By His grace ≈


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Find hope in your real-life struggles. We'll chase it together! I am a wife; mom of 4 (including a young adult daughter with special needs); miscarriage mom of 5; author & follower of Jesus Christ. I write, edit, speak and enjoy everything outdoors.

2 comments on “When Your Strength is Gone
  1. Cecelia Lester (Quiet Spirit) says:

    “Dropping the name “Emmanuel” may seem like a Christmas thing, but God doesn’t wait until Christmas to provide.” I love this thought. Please pray for two of our friends, Becky has Breats Cancer. Kathy has a large brain tumor. Thank you!

    • Julie Sunne says:

      Dear God, Wrap your love around Becky and Kathy. Encapsulate them so fully in your love that everything else pales in comparison, including their diagnoses. Help them to embrace your grace for the difficult challenge they are facing. It is sufficient, Lord. You are sufficient. Fill them with your sufficiency and bring them to live and love big in their trials. Grant them your peace. In Jesus precious name. Amen.

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