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“From Depth to Depth” I Kings 19:1-13 Have you ever before prayed to die? Have you ever found yourself living in such a deep darkness, encountering such an unbearable future, that you sought relief by asking God to please just let you die? If you have, then, as you will certainly have actually noticed, you have actually a kindred soul in the prophet Elijah. This morning’s leskid from First Kings states that Elijah sat dvery own under a tree and also prayed for God to relieve his misery by finishing his life. Whenever I check out Elijah’s prayer, “Lord, I’ve had actually enough. Please, let me die,” I think around that letter Abraham Lincoln wrote in the winter of 1841 in which Lincoln explained his very own dark night of depression through these unforgettable words, “I am now the most miserable guy living. If what I feel were equally distributed among the whole humale family, tbelow would certainly not be one cheerful challenge left on the earth. Whether I shall ever be better I cannot tell, yet I fear I shall not. To remajor as I am is impossible. I have to gain better or die.” Lincoln’s darkness was a shadow equivalent in shape and also shade to Elijah’s. Abraham Lincoln had actually to “get better or die” bereason his life, as it was, was not bearable. Similarly, Elijah was so certain that his life would never be happy or great or joyful again that, while he was not going to end his very own life by his own hand also, he definitely would not mind a little bit if God would certainly do it for him. “I have had actually enough,” he prayed. “Please let me die.” I wonder if God ever before answers that prayer. I wonder if God ever looks upon a soul in agony, praying to die, and also lets it occur. I don’t recognize. It didn’t work for Elijah. Elijah prayed to die in the hope of acquiring some relief from his unbearable sorrow, are afraid, weariness and also pain. But, rather of rescuing Elijah from his agony by giving him the gift of death, God brought Elijah with his agony by giving him the presents of toughness, comfort, courage and also tranquility. Elijah cried from the depth of his soul to be rescued from his pain by the only relief he could imagine; the relief of fatality. But God did not answer Elijah’s prayer to die. Instead, God responded to the depth of Elijah’s pain with a depth of comfort which enabled Elijah to go with the pain he can not go approximately. Instead of offering Elijah what he wanted, a straightforward way to die, God provided Elijah what he necessary, a new way to live. What taken place for Elijah then happens for us now, frequently in methods beautifully explained by that marvelous expression we read this morning from Psalm 42, “Deep calls to deep.” Just as the depth of God’s love called to the depth of Elijah’s pain, the depth of God’s love calls to the depth of our pain. The depth of God’s comfort calls to the depth of our sorrow. The depth of God’s strength calls to the depth of our fear. The depth of God’s grace calls to the depth of our regret, guilt and shame. The depth of God’s joy calls to the depth of our disappointment, hopelessness and also despair. Deep calls to deep. Depth calls to depth. The depth of God’s love reaches into the depth of our lives and somehow permits us to live with the worst pain, even once the pain is so great it provides us, like Elijah, wish we were dead and pray we might die. One thing I have actually discovered about all that in my own life is that, even more frequently than not, when the depth of God’s love calls to the depth of our darkness, tbelow is virtually constantly someone else in the room. When deep calls to deep, tright here is typically a friend involved; a frifinish or a caregiver or someone that loves us, coming to the depth of our require through the depth of their care. You’ve competent it. In your time of are afraid, loss, sorrow and also uncertainty, the depth of God’s support came calling to the depth of your require in the face or voice or kindness of some deep soul who confirmed up, sat dvery own and also stood in for God. Deep calls to deep via the voices and encounters of what Stanley Hauerwas called “A community capable of soaking up our grief;” a community made real by the deals with and also voices and hands and hugs and prayers and flowers and also casseroles and also cards and calls and conversations with which, whereby and also in which deep calls to deep and depth calls to depth. “Deep calls to deep” is a mystical, sacred, vertical wonder which we endure in small, straightforward, horizontal gestures and words. As it was with Elijah, so it is via us. The depth of God’s comfort calls to the depth of our pain, and, wonder of wonders, we live with points which, if someone had actually told us ahead of time we were going to need to go via, we would have sworn we could not have actually survived. But we do. We go with and we come out. Sometimes, much to our surpclimb, we even live to eat aobtain and also sleep aget, to smile aacquire and laugh aget, because the deepest depth of our pain is more than matched by the deepest depth of God’s comfort, love, goodness and toughness.
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