“But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, ‘It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!’ Then as he lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, ‘Arise and eat.’ Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, ‘Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.’ So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of God. And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ “1 Kings 19: 1-9
In this scripture, we find Elijah at one of the most vulnerable points in his life. He had spent years doing the Lord’s business, acting as a prophet because of the love, honor, and glory He had for the Lord. He stood against the prophets of Baal and stood for the love that God had for the children of Israel by proclaiming the word of God. Yet where did that obedience get Him? Where did thinking He was headed the right way, going the Godly way, get him? His decision led him to a place where there was a bounty on his head. Queen Jezebel sought to see him killed and in response, Elijah escaped death only to go into a place of hiding, praying for his own death.
For forty days, Elijah was so devastated, tired, crushed, and fearful that instead of walking in the ministry of the Lord, God sent angels to simply feed and minister to him. It is here that God spoke to Elijah. Have you ever been there? Like Elijah? Thinking that you were following God only to realize that you were walking into heartbreak or a place that you desperately wanted to flee? A place where you simply wanted the hurting to stop? I have…
I am every man’s best friend. Literally. It is not something I aim to be or even start out trying to be, but invariably I am placed in the “best friend” position with all of my male friends. Now, before you feel some pity with that, I have had a pretty interesting group of male friends throughout the years and for the most part, I am extremely happy with being just a friend because I have witnessed them in their “relationships.” However, I also believed the perfect place to find your mate is right in your own “backyard”. But that did not work for me; it backfired as a matter of fact.
The last time I fell for someone, it nearly crushed me and left me devastated to a point where I doubted myself as a woman and as a friend. The pain from that wound still haunts me at times as I try desperately not to repeat that mistake. Now I intentionally try a different approach when it comes to men. I am upfront, direct, and leave no room for confusion. Yet once again, I am in the same place I was the last time.
The last time I fell for someone, I lost my male best friend in the process because I simply fell in love with him. Our friendship was cultivated for more than a decade through laughter, shared experiences, hours of talking, and many times he was my shoulder to lean on. I adored him. But in the end, all he would ever see me as would be his friend. I realized I loved someone who would never love me the same as I did him. I felt betrayed by myself and by God. The very thing that I felt was of God (love) destroyed a relationship I cherished. As result, my determination not to repeat history became my mantra, but here I am again – in the friend zone with no hope of moving beyond it. Although determined to treat my new male friendships differently, I find myself here again asking why. Yet before I can deal with the now, I must once again revisit the past and recognize the lessons I am missing, the strategy of the enemy, and where exactly it took me the last time.
Sometimes we think we are on the correct path, doing the things of the Lord and we come to a moment when we recognize that the ministry costs more than we have to give; the love we have for someone is not enough to keep that someone; and circumstances leave you so bereft that all you want to do is throw in the towel. But it is in these moments that God actually is preparing us to do His best work. In these moments, as we are hiding, God seeks to impart the vision He has for our future. Elijah was in the cave of doubt, loneliness, and fear, but he didn’t stay there. God was about to call him out just as he did for me.
So, I left the cave I found myself in years ago and as hard as it was, I opened myself up again to someone that I grew to like. Yet once again, I find myself caring for someone who doesn’t care for me. I took a different path this time and ironically, that path has led me right back to where I was before. Or has it???