Heroes of Hope: Thursday
Thursday February 18, 2021
Created by Michelle Tucker
1 Kings 19:3–8 (NIV)
3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 5 Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.
All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” 6 He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
7 The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God.
he·ro /ˈhirō/ — a person who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.
If you’re familiar with the Bible, you may know of Elijah. A prophet and miracle worker, we read about Elijah’s life in 1 and 2 Kings, and his importance resonates through the New Testament in stories like the Transfiguration, where Jesus transforms into a miraculous light and meets with Moses and Elijah on the top of a mountain. Elijah did a lot of cool (some may even say, heroic) things in the stories we read about him. So it may seem odd that the verses I chose to highlight for this devotion about “Heroes of Hope” are when Elijah *checks notes* ah yes, prays to die.
To Write Love On Her Arms is a non-profit that tells stories of hope and finds resources for folx dealing with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicidal ideation. A friend, who herself struggles with these things, bought me one of their t-shirts years ago with the quote, “And so we hope to be surprised.” The phrase has stuck with me ever since. TWLOHA’s founder wrote about it, saying: “[This phrase] is the idea that hope means believing things will change” (emphasis mine).
I think it’s important to remember that heroism is not found in a lack of fear or doubt. Even heroes get tired. Even the most courageous can be terrified. Even the strongest can be overwhelmed. “I have had enough, Lord,” Elijah said. (Pretty sure I would also wear that quote on a t-shirt.) And then… he took a nap. And ate some food. And let God strengthen him. And journeyed on.
It is the ability to keep even the smallest spark of hope alight in the most inhospitable of circumstances that makes our heroes inspirational. And when you make it to the end of another day, still able to believe that things can be better, that there is good worth fighting for, that you can be surprised by something beautiful, that makes you a hero, too.
Good and gracious God, help us to find hope in this weary season. Amen.