A ‘pole sane!’ Pity Party

“But the LORD said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’” (1Kings 19:9)

Elijah was one of the greatest prophets who ever lived.  First Kings 18 reports one of the greatest days a prophet could possibly have when Elijah led the chosen people of God into a great and mighty revival.  In response to his sermon, they shouted that they were going to put God first.  As an evidence of their fervent dedication to God they helped him kill 850 false prophets of the wicked King Ahab and his depraved Queen Jezebel.

The very next day when Elijah received a message from Queen Jezebel that she was going to kill him, this great and brave prophet ran into the wilderness then slumped down in exhausted despair under a broom bush tree and asked God to kill him.  God did not kill him but He did answer his prayer.  He fed him with supernatural bread then put him in a deep sleep.  This gave Elijah the strength to travel to a cave where God asked him “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

If this can happen to a great man of God, this can and does happen to all of us sooner or later.  Elijah was having a pity party.  With my severe physical limitations if I get anywhere near a pity party I immediately sink like a cannonball in a swimming pool!  In East Africa they have an often repeated Swahili saying: “pole sane!” It means “Poor pitiful you – poor one – so sorry for you!”

Writing as one who cannot survive a ‘pole sane’ pity party I warn you to flee this temptation like a plague.  It’s a blueprint for a burnout.  If this finds you having a pity party let God ask you “What are you doing here?”

2 Responses to A ‘pole sane!’ Pity Party

  1. Richard Ralls says:

    Dear Pastor Woodward,
    You posted this on my 74th birthday! Thanks, much appreciated. You were my pastor in Virginia Beach from 1961-1964 while I was serving in the Navy. After the Navy I returned to Oregon where I married my wife Marcia and entered the ministry. This is our 46th year of marriage and ministry. The Lord has often reminded us of this passage of Scripture and how that Elijah was a man “with a nature like ours.” And yes, the lord has found me in that cave a time or two.

    Pastor, I learned of your disability in 1994. I have often though of you and Ginny with great affection and prayers. Thank you for your faithfulness to the Word of God and your ministry to me in my youth. You were a very important part my preparation for ministry.

    Love in Christ, Rich Ralls

  2. Francesca says:

    ahah .. i love this Pastor Woodward.. I worked with Virginia in Tanzania and for sure it was a blessing to me …and she has remain a blessing to me and my family … God bless you and your family …

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