This is enough, Lord!
“This is enough, Lord!
There have been times when I just want to say that. When I am witness to extreme pain, exhaustion, injustice. When things just don’t seem to make sense. When the idea that “everything happens for a reason” or “God has a plan” just doesn’t seem right because the suffering is too great or the problems too many. As a mental health clinician, I find myself often sitting with folks who, like Elijah, have said to God “Take my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” Sometimes it is natural and human to find relief in the idea of death. It seems like an eternal rest. A break.
Elijah did too – he felt life was too much, the journey was too much, he didn’t think he wanted to go on. And yet God had food for him two times in this moment of difficulty. The first time he ate, and slept more, and the second time it came with an encouragement to “Get up and eat, else the journey will be too long for you!” God provided the sustenance to continue the journey to get through those 40 days of walking in the desert.
God provides nourishment and food, and the readings remind us of this time and time again. We can see this in the responsorial psalm, “Taste and see the goodness of the Lord.” There is something very human and even parental about God giving us food. It is the first thing I think about when my baby is fussy – is she hungry? Has she eaten recently? Similarly, in my Italian family, food is the way we show love. It is often the first thing my Dad says when I greet him or arrive to their house, “Have you eaten? Do you need some food?”
Jesus saying “ I am the bread of life” is a deep way of showing a parental love. God is a parent, God loves us and is here to provide sustenance and nourishment. God provided Elijah food for the journey, and so God can provide us with sustenance in these moments when we want to say “This is enough.” This also invites us to ask ourselves if we are approaching our faith and our spiritual lives as something that can nourish us, if we are considering God’s help as a way to lift us up during moments of exhaustion and pain and suffering, or give us energy to face each day. It can be a reminder to draw on that nourishment, to trust in God and use the bread of life to keep going, even when we would just like to follow Elijah and go back to sleep.