“Tell them the group from Michigan is here and we’re ready to be picked up.”
Those are the words of a gentleman from Auburn Hills, Michigan. We met him in the parking lot at Carver’s Gap, which is right on the Tennessee-North Carolina border. You can get on the Appalachian Trail there (which is what we were doing).
It wasn’t the greatest day for hiking. Bad weather on the way and we were trying to beat it. It was already raining moderately with visibility at about 50-75 yards, and the wind gusting up to 25 mph. The hike we had planned was 3.3 miles to a shelter and then back to the parking lot—probably an overly ambitious trip for three people who hadn’t been on a serious hike in a long time. But it never came to that; we turned back after about a mile. Conditions were worsening more quickly than we had anticipated and being caught up on the mountain (about 5,500 ft.), in a storm with high winds and low visibility didn’t sound like a great idea. So back we went.
That’s where we met the man whose group was ready to leave. I’m guessing they had also tried the trail and also realized today wasn’t the day. Their problem was there was no cell reception at Carver’s Gap, so he gave us a name and a number to call with the message that they were ready to go.
We’ve all felt that way about something, haven’t we? We’ve done the best we could under the circumstances and though we might have wished for something more—it just wasn’t going to happen. So with a sense of unfulfillment, we moved on.
Elijah was ready to move on in the ultimate sense—he wanted God to take his life (1 Kings 19:4). He had stood bravely for Him at Mt. Carmel. With God’s help, he had overcome 850 false prophets and unbelieving Israel. But he seemed absolutely powerless against one queen—Jezebel. The evil queen had made it her priority to take his life and sent him a message saying so (v. 2). You can almost see the hair on the back of his neck stand up as he reads the note. I imagine that in his battle fatigued state of mind there was the feeling that God had seriously let him down (see v. 10, 14). He had done the best he could under difficult circumstances and dying at the hands of this wicked woman was going to be his reward. Just take my life now.
Of course, it didn’t work out that way. God still had plans for him. After food, rest, and some special time with his Father, Elijah proceeded to his next assignment.
I think when Paul writes “let us not grow weary in doing good” (Galatians 6:9), this is the kind of thing he has in mind. Life really isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon—actually a series of marathons. And we don’t always finish every one.
But we keep running.
Or in our case, hiking. Lord willing, we’re planning on returning in the fall and trying again. Is there something you need to try again? Remember Gideon and his 300 men who were “exhausted but keeping up the pursuit” (8:4).
Here’s to keeping up our pursuit of the King and His kingdom—no matter what.