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Mornings In The College Chapel by Francis Greenwood Peabody

LXXV THE ESCAPE FROM DESPONDENCY

1 Kings xix.1-13.

This is God's word to man's despondency; and when we strip this man's story of its Orientalism, it is really the story of many a discouraged, despondent man of to-day. Elijah has been doing his best, but has come to a point where he is ready to give up. His enemies are too many for him. |Lord,| he says, |it is enough. I have had as much as I can bear. I am alone and Baal's prophets are four hundred and fifty men.| So he goes away into solitude, and looks about him for some clear sign that God has not deserted him. But nothing happens. The great signs of nature pass before him, the storm, the lightning, and the earthquake, but they only reflect his own stormy mood. The Lord is not in them. Then, within his heart, there speaks that voice which is at once speech and silence, and it says to him: |What doest thou here, Elijah,| and behold, the man is convicted. For when he {188} reflects on it he is doing nothing at all. He is sitting under a tree, requesting that he may die. He has fled from his duty and is hiding in a cave. Then the voice says to him: |Get up and go and do your duty. You might sit here forever and get no light on your lot. The problem of life is solved through the work of life. The way out of your despondency is in going straight on with the work now ready to your hand. Answers to great problems are not so likely to come to people in caves, as along the dusty road of duty-doing. Not to the dreamer, but to the doer come the interpretations of life. Elijah, Elijah, what doest thou here?|

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