Or worse, has there been a season of winter... winless.. and there doesn't seem to be a heartbeat left and no friend on the horizon?
We almost always think of the Bible in terms of wins and perfection. But the Bible is more about loss and depression. It has few level plains.... everything in the Bible seems to model human existence as short peaks and deep, dark valleys.
If there is a passage that speaks to our life in times of isolation and darkness, there is no more powerful passage than the account of Elijah running from Jezebel in I Kings 19. There is enough content in these 22 verses for an entire book.
THE STORY OF TWO MOUNTAINS:
Elijah was a prophet with power. There is no more public and powerful victory in the Old Testament than the one on the top of Mount Carmel when Elijah called down fire on the prophets of Baal. Elijah's story is one of dramatic showdowns and extremes. He is a man who was fed by ravens and who prayed down rain.
But there is another mountain that Elijah will end up up on.... just a few chapters later in your Bible... a journey that took 40 days and nights covering a distance of only 260 miles... when you are wandering in a state of loss and darkness, everything is slow and wearying.
A MAN ON THE RUN: NOW WHAT?
Often after great highs, we sink into holes of emptiness, fear, loneliness, and isolationHal Higdon has an entire section in his book, “Marathon- The Ultimate Training Guide” devoted to ‘Post-marathon Blues”.“We focus our lives on this one event for 5 months- and then its done” reflects a Melbourne Beach, Florida runner “Now what?” You have the great high of race day, especially when you finish or meet your goal...but soon after- there is this tangible reality of emptiness.
It isn't just in running....Ernie Conwell works for the NFL Players Association. He was a college standout for the University of Washington and achieved great accomplishments as a pro. He was drafted by the Rams in 1996, won a Super Bowl after a horrific knee injury, named a captain for the New Orleans Saints- An All-Pro selection in 2001.
I had the privilege to have Ernie coach with me in Nashville and I loved hearing him speak to men about his miraculous journey back from the knee injury and what it felt like to compete in the NFL.
But you could hear a pin drop when he explained the saddest reality of all......
Right after his Super Bowl win - the pinnacle of a sport achievement- a lifetime pursuit that organizations invest millions to get, and individual's pour blood, sweat, and tears to grasp...
In the locker room...right after winning THE SUPER BOWL!.... after hugs and laughter...
a lot of grown men sat there with empty stares on their faces... now what?
This isn't to minimize the lasting memories or value of the accomplishment. It is a recognition of all human existence... the thrill is momentary and often less than satisfying.
It isn't just in big things... it is in almost every aspect of life.
I always thought it was appropriate that Pip experienced all the shock of seeing his world collapse in the classic novel, “Great Expectations”.
“All the truths of my position came flashing on me; and its disappointments, dangers, disgraces, consequences of all kinds, rushed in in such a multitude that I was borne down by them and had to struggle for every breath I drew.”
But it was the subtle letdowns that he noticed first:
My (new) clothes were rather a disappointment, of course. Probably every new and eagerly expected garment ever put on since clothes came in, fell a trifle short of the wearer's expectation.
There'll be one child born
In this world to carry on, to carry on