Once there was a minister who was lonely, depressed and feeling defeated in his life and ministry. One night in his despair, he found himself in a bar on the seedy side of town. With his head bowed low in shame, he walked across the dimly lit room and took a seat at the bar. He sat staring into his drink, a drink he had never had before, and pondered his life and his failures.
Suddenly, a man sitting two seats to his right, a man who had obviously been drinking heavily, turned to him, looked at him with piercing eyes and said, “What are you doing here?”
The minister was shocked and thought to himself, “Do I know this man? Does he know me? All the while the man stared at him with those piercing eyes awaiting an answer. An answer he already knew. This minister did not belong there.
Immediately, he rose from the bar stool and left the building. As he sat behind the wheel of his car he thought to himself, “Lord, what has brought me to this low point in my life?” It was as if the Lord had spoken through that man.
As he pulled out of the parking lot he asked for forgiveness. In his beaten and defeated condition, he went back to his home, to his family, and to his ministry. Ashamed of himself, he put one foot in front of the other, and went through the motions, feeling unworthy yet determined to try again. The Lord restored him and he continued his ministry.
There was a man in the Bible, a prophet named Elijah, who also reached a point in his life when he felt defeated and wanted to give up.
“Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there. Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. ‘I have had enough, Lord,’ he said. ‘Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.’” 1 Kings 19:3-4 (NLT)
“But the Lord said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.” 1 Kings 19:9-10 (NLT)
Even the great prophet Elijah reached a point in his life when he felt so defeated that he just wanted to die. The Lord asked him again “What are you doing here Elijah?” Then he was given instructions on what to do next.
There may be a time in your life when you were brought low, a time that only you and the Lord know about. Do not let that define you. Do not let that set your course for a lifetime of defeat. Instead, put one foot in front of the other — and though you feel unworthy, determine in your heart to try again. The Lord will hold you up with his strong right arm. He will set your course and make straight your path. Defeat will humble a person, but with the help of the Lord, there is hope, restoration, and a victorious future.