Taking time to rest following a PCS is a good thing, but I went beyond the rest boundary and found myself depressed
And [Elijah] asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. And the angel of the LORD came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God. (1 Kings 19:4b-8)
As much as I loved military life, there were times, like Elijah, I said to the Lord, “I’ve had enough!” No sooner had I adjusted to a new place than it was time to leave. Don’t get me wrong, I knew military life was God’s will for our family, but there were days of struggle to align with my heart what I knew in my head.
One of my “I’ve had enough” times happened during a PCS move that took place in January. Moving in the off-season brought unique challenges. Life at the new duty station was already in full swing. My kids had to start school mid-year and I felt like I had to insert myself into groups that already had their momentum and rhythm. The idea exhausted me. So, what did I do? I am not proud of this, but for several months I locked my door, pulled the shades, and floundered in my isolation. Taking time to rest following a PCS is a good thing, but I went beyond the rest boundary and found myself depressed. I sent my kids off to school and, most mornings, I went back to bed. Bed was safe.
While I want to follow Elijah’s example in many ways, this is one way I wish I did not relate. Elijah isolated himself. He reached the wilderness out of energy and all alone after having left his servant in Beersheba (1 Kings 19:3). Sister, let me tell you, when the going gets tough it is not the time to travel alone.
Our good God did not leave Elijah alone. In fact, he sent an angel to provide sustenance. God was not finished with Elijah. The prophet needed physical and spiritual strength to continue the journey and fulfill God’s purpose, and God provided just what he needed. God did not tell Elijah to run for his life—that was Elijah reacting to his circumstances.1 But God gently reminded Elijah through the food he sent that he was a God who was present with him and who would provide for him.2
Did you notice that something more than protein and carbs fortified the food the Lord’s angel fed Elijah? After a second serving, Elijah was able to embark on a journey lasting forty days and forty nights. God knows the fortified spiritual nourishment we need to get out of our bed of despair and hit the trail to the place he knows we need to be. Taste and see that the Lord is good!
How did God care for Elijah physically, emotionally, and spiritually? How do God’s actions toward Elijah give you confidence when you think about a PCS move?
Prayer for the Journey
Lord, you have made me with body, soul, and spirit. You care not only for my spiritual well-being, you also care for my emotional and physical well-being. Help me to use wisdom to rest when I am tired from the day’s activities. May I rest in your strength. Amen.
1 Iain W. Provan, Understanding the Bible Commentary Series: 1 & 2 Kings (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 2003), 144.
2 Ibid, 145