The Upper Room devotional reflection for Saturday, November 5, 2022, comes to us from Paula Fernando Gonçalves de Moura of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
1 Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. 2 So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” 3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, 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.” 5 Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” 6 He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. 7 The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 8 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. There he went into a cave and spent the night. 9 And the word of the LORD came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
1 Kings 19:1-9NIV
NEVER GIVE UP
I have a guava tree in my garden that bears tasty fruit every year. In addition to fruit, this tree produces shade and attracts birds. After a strong windstorm last summer, the guava tree fell. I was reluctant to cut it because it was supported by the structure of the garage and continued to bear fruit. After a year, I reconsidered cutting it down, but I noticed several new shoots emerging from the root of the mother tree. It was regenerating.
I was impressed with the perseverance of this tree. I started to question whether I am as determined when I face challenges. I am living in a period of great financial difficulty and am unemployed. I have already thought about leaving everything and have asked God to take me – similar to the prophet Elijah’s request when he was threatened by Jezebel. But my guava tree has taught me never to give up fighting. It has taught me to trust in the rebuilding that will come from God at the right time.
My pastor, the Rev. Troy M. Benton, frequently offers me the following word of encouragement: “If you don’t quit, you’ll win.” The phrase reminds me that some struggles are not overcome by strategy or meticulous planning. Some obstacles are overcome simply through dogged, Holy Spirit inspired perseverance. It’s not always easy to continue enduring challenge after challenge, with no end in sight. It is easy to become weary and contemplate surrendering to the waves of adversity. Yet, Paula’s reflection, and our scripture, remind us that we do not face our adversity alone. God is always with us, offering us the blessed assurance we need to endure, especially when we cannot see an end.
Faithful God, help us never to give up fighting because we know that in your timing everything will be made right. In the name of Jesus. Amen.
-- Paula Fernando Gonçalves de Moura
Those who are unemployed.
Thought for the day:
I can persevere knowing that God is always with me.