From Part 2
GOD'S MINISTRY TO TURN 'DRY CRUMBS' INTO 'FRESH BREAD'
As I look at Peter as well as Elijah, and I am sure there are others, I see a few things that I have found helpful for the recovery.
For Elijah in 1Kings 19:5 "He lay down under the tree and fell asleep." God gets Elijah to sleep deeply, with no worries and confusing facts. He needed to rebuild his strength.
Peter returned back to his home and rested. This involved doing the familiar things, and taking time from the stress and strain of pressure.
In my own life, rest is a key. God often speaks to me through my partner in marriage, Leigh, who often the first to see the tell-tale signs of my working too hard and of near exhaustion and tells me, to go take a break and sleep!
We read in 1Kings 19:6 "... and there...was cake..." God supplied the food and it was wholesome. Elijah ate well. It was good food eaten in an unpressured space, and in easy surroundings. Cake baked over hot coals, and fresh water! Fresh bread is marvellous and healthy!
Peter, back to Galilee, finds Jesus cooking a great breakfast for them on the side of the lake, Jesus offered good healthy and fresh food that He prepared himself (John 21:13).
We often are locked into bad eating and drinking habits that are too sugary, too fatty, build up cholesterol and have other destructive forces. A good diet intentionally made sets us free for service again. Eating and drinking healthily is a significant part of a Christ-followers discipleship, because our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit.
- SPACE TO GET IN TOUCH WITH EVENTS AND RELATED FEELINGS:
In 1Kings 19:10 Elijah took time to reflect and see what exactly had happened. What caused this to happen? How did he land up where he was? He saw that God had been in it all, and he was just the instrument. He knew that he had been faithful and that it had been a privilege to be in God's service, and he was renewed by that. He talked it through with God, especially the feelings he had about it. This is very helpful.
For Peter, Jesus only asks to know the real desire of Peter’s heart. He does not focus on the failure and blame. Jesus looks to the heart of Peter and God’s calling on his life. Peter is then able to face the failure and the future. He was sure what he wanted from life and that was that was to love Jesus and to serve him. This not from an ego-centric desire for recognition, from a sincere love for Jesus.
- REBIRTH A FRESH RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD:
We find Elijah in 1 Kings 19:11ff that God then reveals his voice not in the drama of the noise and flurry of the storms and earthquake, but in the quietness. Again Elijah has a quiet assurance to go on again. God brings Elijah back to himself, and renews his love and care for him.
Jesus re-established the relationship with Peter, allowing the past to be undone by the present love of the Resurrected Jesus, who overcomes all failure through the cross. The open and empty tomb is the work place of all success from failure. This is the demonstration to Peter and to us that all is not lost in failure, but is the promise of victory. It allowed him to address the perfectionism and isolation, as well as gaining a better picture if the sovereignty of God.
I discovered in each of these moments the profound love of God for me. Many asked me if these experiences affected by faith. My reply was that it had deepened ad strengthened my faith in Jesus. I had the opportunity to reaffirm God’s loves for me and God’s will for me. I came to know that I am more precious to God than the task and work for Him. In fact it was a profound moment when I came face to face with the knowledge that God is jealous of that precious relationship with me! He will do what is needed to keep that relationship alive.
What has been deeply affected was my trust in people around me and the institutions in which I was involved. I had to do a lot of searching, forgiving, receiving healing, seeking peace, offering reconciliation to those who would accept it and then setting clear boundaries for myself within relationships and institutions in order to minister again.
It is a fascinating thing that God says to Elijah in 1Kings 19:15 "Go back the way you came..." Elijah is then sent back, and this time he finds a partner in Elisha. He is in a twosome now. He appointed the following King, Hazael over Syria, and Jehu over Israel. Elijah now had a winning team to work with!
For Peter, Jesus commissions him to get back to work and lead the disciples, to ‘feed my lambs/sheep’ and know that his life and ministry was significant for God again. There was work for Peter. Peter went on to lead the Church in and from Jerusalem and ultimately died for his faith in Jesus, this time standing true to His Lord.
I have again felt the fire in my belly again for God’s mission. God sends us back to place where we have come from, the place of defeat and burnout, to try again, but in a new way. This is the kind of God you and I serve. As I sat on the banks of the Sea of Galilee, at the traditional place where the above conversation with Peter took place, I heard again the whisper of God’s Spirit with my spirit to ‘Go back to Gauteng and serve the churches there’. God is not finished with us nor his world! It had been quoted back to me that when I die you can cut me open and find the word ‘Mission’ written on my spleen!
The thing that Jesus did for Peter he did for me and he can do for you. I found God’s call become clearer again. In fact the call that I had received ten year’s earlier became possible. If the ashes of discouragement are smouldering in your life, be secure in this: "God can and will cause a fire to be ignited. He is not finished with you. Therefore we are not finished. Feel the warmth of his fire in your belly again as He says: ‘I love you. Let me do my work through you! I am the God of the impossible!”
HOW TO PREVENT BURNOUT WILL BE THE FINAL PART