I have a friend who is a pastor. He’s a good guy, but he has a problem. I don’t know if there’s a name for it, but I’m convinced it’s a psychological disorder. You see, like Kramer on Seinfeld, my pastor friend feels a pathological need to see how far he can drive after the gas gauge reads empty.
He doesn’t just wait until the warning light comes on. He doesn’t just wait until the needle points directly at E. He waits until the needle is well below the E. He wants to see how far he can really go. And then when he gets there, he takes a picture of the gas gauge and posts it on Facebook.
Like I said, he has a problem. Sometimes I picture him driving down the road with a crazed look on his face, singing the old Jackson Browne song “Runnin’ on Empty.”
Do you ever feel like you’re running on empty? You’re tired. Maybe you don’t sleep well at night. You’re frazzled, dealing with stress from your job or your marriage or your kids. You’re depressed because everything seems to be going wrong in your life. You’re running on empty. You’re on the edge. You’re just two drops away from running out of gas and breaking down on the highway of life.
That’s how the Prophet Elijah felt. If you have a chance this week, read Elijah’s story in 1 Kings 17-19. Elijah felt alone and afraid. Most of God’s people had rejected the true God to follow the false god Baal. Wicked King Ahab and wicked Queen Jezebel were out to kill him. Elijah felt forced to flee. He ran for days until he came to the mountain of God, Mt. Sinai, several hundreds of miles away.
There God came to Elijah in a gentle whisper. “What are you doing here, Elijah?” God asked.
“I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty,” Elijah replied. “The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars and put your prophets to death… I am the only one left and now they are trying to kill me too.”
They say that when you stick your nose in limburger cheese, the whole world stinks. That was Elijah’s problem. He was tired and worn out. In his mind, all was lost. He was all alone. He was the only believer left.
Elijah felt sorry for himself.
So God came to him in a gentle whisper to remind him of the truth. Elijah wasn’t all alone. God had reserved 7,000 true believers who hadn’t bowed down to Baal. He was going to send another prophet named Elisha to help him. He would get rid of wicked King Ahab and wicked Queen Jezebel. God was in control. Everything would be okay.
Refueled by God’s promises, Elijah got back to work.
Are you tired, stressed and frazzled? Have you dug yourself into a pit of self-pity? That means you’re probably running on empty. You need to refuel.
You need to hear the gentle whisper of God’s promises. As we quietly sit and hear his Word, he reminds us that we are not alone. He reminds us that he is in control and will work all things for our good.
He whispers to us words of forgiveness. Because Jesus died your death, you don’t have to carry around the guilt and regret that keep you up at night. You are completely forgiven forever – even for the sin of feeling sorry for yourself. You are going to live forever in the happiness of heaven where there is no more stress or worry. God is going to be with. He will get you through this. It’s going to be okay.
When you’re running on empty, open up your Bible and listen carefully to the gentle whisper of God’s promises.
When you’re running on empty, that’s how God refuels you.