October 30, 2008

Kill Me Now 
by Shawn McEvoy, Crosswalk.com Senior Editor

If this is how you are going to treat me, put me to death right now --
if I have found favor in your eyes -- and do not let me face my own ruin."
numbers 11:15

...while he himself went a day's journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die.
"I have had enough, Lord," he said. "Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors."
1 kings 19:4

Now, O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.
jonah 4:3

What kind of a person feels like this? A schmo like me, at times, sure. Maybe you, or people you know. Surely not the heroes of the Old Testament.

Well, truth is, even God's greatest leaders and prophets got to the point in their respective stories where, even after witnessing indescribable miracles and blessings, their circumstances were so overwhelming, impossible and undesirable their attitude was, "Just kill me now, Lord!" Exhausted in body, soul, and spirit, they cried out that they had had enough. They could go no longer in their own power.

The first quote above is from Moses, who had a People Problem. The wandering Israelites were hungry, and as usual, it fell to Moses to solve the problem. He cried out to the Lord, "Was it I who conceived these people? Was it I who brought them forth?" He looked around and couldn't figure out how to satisfy everyone.

The second quote is from Elijah, who had a Pity Problem. This was a prophet who had just called down fire from heaven, destroyed the prophets of Baal, and witnessed the end of a long drought. But just a few verses later, one vow from one wicked queen has him in such despair that he fears he can't go on like this.

The third quote is from Jonah, who had a Pouting Problem. He'd finally obeyed to the point of going to Nineveh and preaching repentance, but when the Lord relented and stayed his hand rather than destroying the city, Jonah wasn't happy. He folded his hands and "became angry" that the destruction he forecast never arrived.

Consider who these men were and what they had seen, what the Lord had done through them. Moses parted the Red Sea and led a people out of slavery. Elijah stood strong for Israel during a time of tremendous pagan influence, prayed down fire and rain, and actually never died (so chalk up at least one unanswered prayer!). Jonah is one of the first stories we tell our children, about how God provided a great fish to swallow him for such a period as he could learn about obedience and repentance.

Not only that, but these guys all show up in the Gospels, in one way or another. Moses and Elijah are present at Jesus' transfiguration (mark 9). In matthew 12:38-41 (niv), Jesus tells the Pharisees they won't get any sign from him other than the sign of Jonah, foreshadowing the three days He Himself would spend in the belly of the Earth.

But interestingly enough, Christ never felt this way. He knew His destiny was to die, and even prayed that such a cup might pass from Him. And let's not forget that He is our example, not Moses, not Elijah, and not Jonah, great as they were.

When we feel the way that these guys did, we need to realize that anyone wanting to die is under attack. And our enemy can bring that attack through people, pity, and pouting. It comes when our body is not healthy, our soul is not happy, and our spirit is not holy.

But conveniently enough, Paul shows us a prayer that covers all these bases. He writes, "Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved complete, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He who calls you, and He also will bring it to pass." (1 thessalonians 5:23-24).

You aren't alone when you feel like you can't go on, like you would be better off dead than standing strong in the face of the overwhelming task God has given you, especially when you are weak in body, soul, and spirit, and the enemy is on the attack. And truly, it is comforting to know that some of the Bible's greatest faith warriors and miracle workers shared these feelings. But it doesn't mean they were right. Let us not indulge hopelessness, for it is always around us. Instead, let us remember that we serve a God of miracles and we follow the One who never copped to people, pity, or pouting, but willingly laid His life down.

Intersecting Faith & Life: Develop a plan that gives you exercise and rest in proper amounts for your body, soul, and spirit, so that you will be less prone to attack.