Addy and the prize onion

Published 2:18 pm Friday, May 3, 2019

Last week I instructed Addy to go out to the garden and pull up an onion.  She did as she was told and shortly showed up with the large bulb.  Addy was already proud of what she harvested all by herself, but her glee increased when I told her that she pulled up a prize onion.  A little later in the day I heard her telling Nana:  “Papa said I pulled up a prize onion!”  I think what made her happiest of all was Papa’s acceptance of her action; she felt uplifted because she knew that what she did pleased me.

On Wednesday evening as I sat in the church office preparing for the Bible study that I was about to present, my wife came in from one of her many trips of picking up little girls from their after school activities.  I asked her to send Madeline in to see me and in just a few moments I heard two sets of feet rapidly making their way toward me.  When the office door flung open Madeline and Addy rushed in to greet me, playfully wrestling to see which one would get to me first.  Both of them hold claims to being Papa’s girls and we had a lovely few minutes together until they scurried off again to be with the rest of the kids.  A little personal attention did their hearts good (and it didn’t do Papa any harm either!).

A little extra encouragement and some personal attention is nourishing to the soul.  Even some of the most greatly used individuals of the Bible went through seasons in life when they needed lifting up.  The Old Testament prophet, Elijah, is among those who hit some low spots along life’s way.  However, the good news is that God lifted him up and got him back on his feet through some encouragement and personal attention.

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After being used by God to accomplish a significant victory, he received word that an enemy was out to kill him.  Elijah was understandably frightened so he ran for his life, but after awhile he became discouraged and asked God to take his life:  “He came to a broom 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 Kings 19:4, New International Version).  Thankfully, God did not answer that prayer, or at least, not in the way that Elijah requested.  Rather than taking his life, God strengthened Elijah’s life through several key provisions.

One of those provisions was that of nourishment.  In his physical and emotional exhaustion, Elijah fell asleep and was later awakened by an angel.  When the man of God looked around he discovered that God had provided him with bread and water.  We do not usually expect to wake up to find freshly prepared food placed near our pillow by an angel, but we can trust God to provide us with spiritual nourishment for our weary souls as we trust in Him.

Another provision of God for Elijah was renewed strength to carry on.  The Bible says, “So he got up and ate and drank.  Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God” (1 Kings 19:8).  God’s replenishment of our souls can enable us to achieve beyond anything we could dream.

God also provided Elijah with a helper by the name of Elisha.  When we are feeling low, the presence and help of another can make the journey of life more bearable and more productive.

Nourishment and strength from God, along with the encouraging presence of others, can lift us out of those low places in life.  It worked for Elijah a long time ago, and it is still effective for us today.