God Loves You on Your Bad Days
by John Maxwell
Today we will be mentored by some of the giants of the faith. Who will be the first?
We can hear someone walking up the hallway, the sound of leather soles gently treading on the stone floor. And then he’s standing in the doorway—a bald man neither young nor old. He wears a plain tunic with a leather belt. On his shoulders rests a camel-hair cloak. The man’s expression is intense, serious. I wonder who this might be.
“I was a man of great influence in my country,” he says, eyeing us intently as he walks over and settles into the chair opposite us. “I had the confidence of the people, the ear of the king, and the power of God. I condemned King Ahab, the most wicked of Israel’s kings. I prophesied the three-year drought. And I proved to everyone that Baal was an impotent false god, worthy of nothing but contempt.”
“I have something important to tell you,” Elijah says as he fixes us with his eyes. “God loves you on your bad days.”
Why would the prophet who challenged kings and called down fire from heaven talk about bad days? Because after performing glorious acts for God, he lost hope and ran away.
“All my courage left me,” Elijah says. “The best of days had turned into the worst of days. I told God I’d had enough and asked Him to take my life.”
There are many leadership lessons we can learn from Elijah, but three stand out to me:
1. Even God’s Best Leaders Are Human
It’s very easy for us to read the Bible and believe that the great leaders whose stories we read were somehow beyond life’s normal trials, temptations, and failures. We want to see these giants of the faith as superhuman, but they were not. Their gifts were greater than they were. And they were asked to do things beyond their own capacity. They were in many ways ordinary men and women, but they served an extraordinary God!
2. Leaders Make the Greatest Impact When They Lead
As obvious as it may sound, leaders must remember that they make a positive difference when they lead. As leaders, we can get caught up in many things that aren’t the main thing. Elijah was at his best when he was leading on Mount Carmel. Good leaders remain focused on what God has called them to do.
3. God’s Desire for Discouraged Leaders Is for Them to Get Back into Leadership
Every leader fails. Every leader becomes discouraged at some time. Every leader becomes disappointed and wants to run away or quit. Often other people look at a leader’s failure and think, They’ve blown it. They are disqualified from ever leading again.
But that’s not how God thinks. When these things happen, what is God’s desire for these leaders? He wants them to be restored to Him and to get back into the game. After God connected with Elijah and restored their relationship, He told Elijah to go back the way he came, because He still had things for him to do. We should continue to serve God in whatever way He asks. We’re not finished until He says so.
Elijah’s Prayer for Us
“Lord God Almighty,
“Put the fire of Your Spirit into Your servants. Show Your power to the world through them as You did through me on Mount Carmel. When they have bad days and feel discouraged, speak to them in Your gentle whisper and encourage them. Amen.”
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