Too Self-Absorbed To See


Self-Absorption is a human malady. Even the best of us can get lost in the pain and not see the praiseworthy things going on around us. The pain can be too difficult to wade through. In My Prayer Chair by Carla McDougal, she talks about Elijah’s struggles in 1 King’s 19:1-8.

“Elijah experienced a mountain top miracle. Coming down from the mountain, he ended up face-to-face with Jezebel–the evil woman who threatened to kill him. Tired, exhausted, and fearful, he ran for his life. After a day’s journey into the desert, he sat down under a broom tree and literally prayed to die.” (pg. 40)

Elijah’s story has been on my mind of late. He could be compared to someone suffering from depression, fighting a chronic disease, being harassed, or even threatened. An angel supplied Elijah with nourishment, but his pain was so great Elijah failed to see how it was God who provided food and water. “He didn’t take time to lift a prayer of praise to the Lord!” said Carla.

Our pain can truly blind us to the joys of how God provides for us in our time of mourning or pain.  In our self-absorption, we are blind, just as Elijah was blind.

Blindness can lead to hopelessness the more we forget to thank God and appreciate what we do have around us. When we think no one understands our pain, God does, but it’s like a kid getting a gift and never sending a thank you note to the giver; we, Carla says, forget to thank God and appreciate the fulfillment of His promises. And this leads us down a dark path where we’d consider suicide because we can’t see any other way out of our pain. The New York Times says, “In 2010 there were 33,687 deaths from motor vehicle crashes and 38,364 suicides.

I’ve seen an Elijah in my circle of friends. She’s brave and strong in her faith and battles legal harassment. In the beginning, it was hard; now she lives her life as if the harassment doesn’t exist. It shows in her attitude. This Elijah is no longer blind. God is providing.

How have you been tempted to quit? Describe in the comments the temptation, then tell me how God is providing.