Lenka, an Australian singer, belts a song titled, “Roll with the Punch.” A line in the song says, “When life tries to knock all the wind out of you, you’ve got to roll, roll, roll with the punches.”
When last did life seem to knock the wind out of you? The death of someone you loved? You lost your job? You lost your home to financial mismanagement? Your spouse walked out of your marriage? One of your children made a life-damaging decision? The doctor diagnosed you with cancer? You faced temptation and made a bad decision?
And when life knocks the wind out of you is all you can do “roll, roll, roll with the punches”? Is there not more you can do? Do you just lay down and roll over?
We can learn from a Bible character named Elijah. His story is told in the Old Testament section of the Bible in 1 Kings 19. Elijah served as a preacher of the Lord. A wicked queen, Jezebel, hated Elijah (remember, we don’t name our girls Jezebel). She sent a message to Elijah: “By this time tomorrow, I will kill you.” I would say that was some kind of threat, wouldn’t you?
What did Elijah do? Trust God? Stand courageous? No, he ran, found a cave, and hid in it. Worse, in that cave Elijah prayed, “Lord, just take my life. I’ve had enough.” Elijah, gripped by fear and despair, sat in that cave, and sulked, enjoying his pity party.
God spoke to Elijah. “What are you doing here?” God’s preacher-prophet shouldn’t be hiding in a cave, fearful of a queen. Yes, life had knocked the wind out of Elijah. What should you do when life knocks the wind out of you?
Stop Looking at Your Problems, and Start Looking to God.
What happened to Elijah here often happens to us. He shifted his focus from God to the problems and circumstances he was in. He couldn’t see how much God loved him. He didn’t seek God’s solution for this issue. All Elijah could see was his problem; and his problem looked bigger than God.
All of us need bifocal vision. That is, we see the problems at hand, but we also see the hand of God at work in our situation. You can’t soar in life when your whole focus is on your problems.
Stop Talking to God, and Start Waiting for God to Speak.
God asked Elijah, “What are you doing here?” Elijah never gave God an honest answer. Instead, Elijah blabbered: “O, Lord, your people are so unfaithful. They have disobeyed you. I’m the only good guy You have left. And now they are trying to kill me.”
God taught Elijah a powerful lesson. He said, “Elijah, go stand on the mountain and I will pass by.” A powerful wind came. It tore apart the mountains. An earthquake shook the ground. Fire came. The Bible says, “But God wasn’t in the wind . . . the earthquake . . . nor the fire” (1 Kings 19:11).
Next came a gentle whisper. God was in that gentle whisper. Nothing spectacular, but real nevertheless. How do you and I hear God’s “gentle whisper”? We sense God speaking to us when we read and study His Word, the Holy Bible. And when life knocks the wind out of you, you can’t do better than to be in God’s Word. He will speak to you through Bible verses.
Stop Moping, and Start Moving.
God had work for Elijah to do. He told him to anoint for ministry 3 different persons. Why did God ask Elijah to do this? To help Elijah crawl out of his self-pity.
One cure for despair and moping is to get busy. And when we start moving we discover all kinds of exciting new opportunities and adventures. If life has knocked the wind out of you, then take some helpful steps to improve your situation. You will find the results amazingly positive.
Might God ask you today, “What are you doing here? What are you doing moping in self-pity? Look to Me! I am your strength. I have solutions to your problems. I will supply your needs.” Every time we look to God instead of looking at our problems He helps us. And, that’s hopeful!.