“He himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a juniper 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 Kgs 19:4
He was sorely discouraged. It seemed to him that all he had done, had come to nothing. There are few things we need more to guard against than discouragement. When once we come under its influence, it makes us weak, robbing us of our hope and making cowards of us. Many a life is discrowned and drawn down to failure, through discouragement.
It is surely a sad picture: this greatest of the old prophets lying there under the little bush, in the wilderness, longing to die! If he had died then and there, what an inglorious ending it would have made of his life! As it was, however, he lived to do further glorious work and to see great results from his contest with idolatry. God was kinder to him, than he knew.
It is wrong to wish ourselves dead. Life is God’s gift to us, a sacred trust for which we shall have to give account. While God keeps us living–he has something for us to do. Our prayer should be for grace to do our duty bravely and well unto the end. From Elijah’s after-experience, we learn that we would never be cast down by any discouraging experiences. The things we think have failed are often only slowly ripening into rich success. We have only to be faithful to God and to duty, and we may always rejoice. What seems failure–is often best success.