Coffee Stains: Enough PainAuthor: David Porter
Having babies must not be that hard. After all, ladies have been doing it for hundreds, even thousands of years and they just keep it up. My wife did her part well. She gave birth to three little rugbugs. It did get a bit complicated at times though, especially until we got the hang of it. Our firstborn (actually our first unborn who became our firstborn) kept us running back and forth to the hospital with false labor. Actually the first trip might not have been as false as all that. I had left her with her mom while I was off preaching somewhere. When I got back that night they were at the hospital, so off I sped to see what was up.
In those days hospitals did things a bit differently, so there were three ladies in the same room, all in labor at the same time. I guess they moved them later from the early labor room to the serious labor room to the delivery room. Or something. Evidently the doctor hadn’t finished his evening coffee just then and didn’t want to come out, so the nurse gave my wife and the other two ladies a shot to slow their labor pains. And their labor stopped! When it became evident that no one was going to have a baby that night, the African American lady in the bed near my wife moaned with frustration, ‘I done had enough pain to have this child.” Steve finally showed up a month later one and we all lived happily ever after. But that lady’s words have stuck with me over the years.
Sometimes I get in a tough place and I want to tell the Lord, ‘I done had enough pain to have this child!’ ”Enough pain” Discouraged Elijah waits to hear from God. He’s a man of action and power and he expects God to speak to him the same way, wind, fire, or earthquake. A few days earlier he thought the revival had arrived when the fire fell and the rain fell and the people fell on their face and cried, ‘The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!” Horrible pagan priests were massacred and wicked king Ahab was docile, meekly doing what the prophet told him. But then his witchy wife Jezebel showed up and our prophet friend found that the revival might not have been as ingrained as he had hoped. He boogied out of there as fast as he could to try to save his skin. Then he settled into depression. Let’s stop here a minute, though.
It’s easy to beat on old Elijah but think of what he’s been through–three years of hiding out. His picture decorating every post office would have proclaimed ‘Israel’s Most Wanted Man’ with frontal and side mug shots. People were blaming him for the drought and subsequent famine. He thought people were going to love and serve the Lord and now, nothing! Everything had fallen apart, and he was on the lam again.
I remember passing through a troubled period in a church we were pastoring. Then one night we had a wonderful service. People were touched by God’s love and I thought my problems were over. But it got worse, so I quit. Ever been there? Exhausted from praying about that financial need that never quits? Weary of talking to people about the Lord with seemingly no results? Frustrated with people who don’t seem to change? Dog-tired of that trial that just seems to go on and on and on. You thought it was better and ‘pow!’ Same old thing. ‘Lord, I done had enough pain to have this child!’
What do you do? Quit? I’ve done that and it didn’t solve a lot. I found that further on down the road I kept meeting the trial that I ran from. Sooner or later I had to win the battle. Elijah heard God’s voice and it was enough for him. The Lord spoke in a ‘still, small voice’ that cut straight to the prophet’s heart. Things weren’t as bad as Elijah had supposed. Seven thousand people still refused to bow before Baal. God was still moving and He had some big things planned just ahead. I wonder how many times I look for big, BIG, flashy answers and God just speaks in that still small voice? Am I willing to listen? Is He doing things that I don’t see yet? Our son didn’t come that night at the hospital. It took some more waiting and some more pain but he was well worth it (the other two, also).
You may feel like you can’t go any further. You’re so tired of holding on. You’ve had enough pain and frustration. Take a lesson from Elijah and go to God with you fatigue and frustration. He’ll give you the strength you need until the answer comes.