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.” 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. (1 Kings 19:7-8)
Has anyone ever empathized with you and agreed, “the journey is too much for you”? God said these comforting words to Elijah as he ran for his life, with overwhelmed feelings of despair. These words and the provision of food, water and rest, were what Elijah needed to strengthen him to finish his journey. Like Elijah, sometimes, we need someone who will say these words, rather than attempting to fix our problems. When my overwhelmed daughter called regarding an upcoming surgery, my “mom response” was to take over and help her schedule her pre-op appointment. As I gave her phone numbers and offered to make the call, she said “Mom, I just need you to listen while I cry, NOT fix the problem. Then, I will schedule the appointment.” Her correction reminded me that I just needed to agree that she had a tough situation and to listen to her. That sympathetic and empathetic response can provide the strength for the person to get up and finish their journey. As we enter into conversations where we want to fix the situation, ask God to quiet our hearts and words so that we can say with great tenderness: “the journey is too much for you”.
Correcting Father, thank you for pointing out where I need to empathize rather than fix problems. Quiet my words and make me more empathetic to those around me. In Jesus’ name. Amen