When the Journey Seems too Much

Chic Broersma

READ : 1 Kings 19:1-18

The angel of the Lord . . . touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” (v. 7)

A fable says the devil once held a yard sale. A table displayed all the tools of his
trade. Each was labeled: hatred, malice, envy, despair, sickness, sensuality – all
the weapons that everyone knows so well. But off to one side lay a harmless looking
implement marked “discouragement.” It was old and worn but priced far above the others.
When asked why, the devil replied, “Because I can use this one more easily than the
others. No one knows that it belongs to me. With it I can open doors that are tightly
bolted against the other tools. Once I get inside I can use any instrument that suits me

In fear for his life Elijah hits the road, collapses under a tree and cries, “It is
enough; now, O Lord, take away my life” (v. 4). That’s discouragement with a capital “D.”
Without anything quite so dramatic, we too may move quickly from the heights of victory to
the depths of discouragement as we attempt to faithfully serve God.

God’s remedy for Elijah? The angel’s words of encouragement and guidance, plus
angel-delivered cakes of bread and a jar of water. Basic provisions for both body and

Do you remember Jesus’ words? “This is my body broken for you, this is my blood shed
for you.” He gives us food for our journey, always available. That’s why the sacrament is
called a means of grace.


Lord, refresh me, feed me, use me.