By Bruce Green
Teaching Minister at 10th Street Church of Christ
in Opelika

That the wilderness can wear you down comes as no surprise. Its harsh surroundings, demanding terrain and meager resources can squeeze the stamina out of the strongest. That it can also be a place of renewal is a surprising and hopeful truth — especially for anyone dealing with spiritual fatigue.

Spiritual fatigue occurs when our circumstances overrun our resources. One summer our family was vacationing on Lake Martin. A friend had loaned their boat to us. There was a certain art to operating the choke which I hadn’t mastered. Although I was able to get the engine started and the boat out on the water, the motor died soon after and we started drifting. I couldn’t get it restarted and we had to resort to using paddles (we might as well have been using our hands.) Fortunately, another boat came by and gave us a tow. Our circumstances had definitely overrun our resources. When this happens in your spiritual life, you end up adrift and in need of immediate help.

When Elijah headed into the wilderness, he had weariness written all over him. He had stood bravely for God at Mt. Carmel against King Ahab, 450 false prophets and unbelieving Israel. It seems likely that he thought the miracle there would bring Ahab and the nation back to God. It didn’t. Furthermore, Ahab’s wife, Jezebel, sent a message to him that his life was over. He fled into the wilderness, stopped under a broom tree and asked God to take his life. His circumstances had overrun his resources.

Elijah thought his story ended there, but it didn’t. The God who rained down fire on Mt. Carmel and brought an end to the false prophets could also nurture and revitalize His plaintive prophet.

And what He did for Elijah, He continues to do for His people today. There is renewal—even in the midst of the wilderness.

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. (2 Corinthians 4:16)

You can find more of Bruce’s writings at his website: