Dear Friend,

It’s a privilege to write to you today, and I’m honored that you are spending this time with me in the Word of God. I want to share with you about a man who was completely transformed by the power of God. He went from being in a place of deep depression and wanting God to end his life to being a bold and mighty conqueror. This man of God was taken up to Heaven in a fiery chariot, so not only did God never kill him, this man never died and is still alive to this day. Yes, I’m talking about the great prophet Elijah!

Elijah had been sent by God to King Ahab and to the rebellious nation of Israel who was worshiping Baal. To remind these wayward Israelites of Almighty God’s power and might, Elijah had prophesied that it would not rain — and no rain fell for three years. But instead of their hearts returning to the Lord, the people of Israel continued to rebel. In First Kings 18:21, Elijah rebuked them and said, “…How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal, follow him.” Verse 21 continues, “But the people answered him not a word.”

Elijah then challenged the prophets of Baal to set up an altar to their god Baal and call out to him, and afterward, Elijah set up an altar to God. Elijah decreed that the god who answered with fire was, and is, the One True God. So the prophets of Baal began worshiping and crying out to their false god, screaming and cutting themselves, but nothing happened; fire did not consume the offering on their altar.

When it was Elijah’s turn, he had people fill four large jars repeatedly with water and pour them on the sacrifice that he had prepared on the altar for the Lord. He then prayed to God, and the Word says, “Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, ‘The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!’” (1 Kings 18:38,39).

The prophets of Baal were then seized and killed, and Elijah prophesied to King Ahab that it was going to rain, which would end the three-year drought. Rain did come just as Elijah had said, but when Ahab returned home, he told his wife Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and she vowed to kill Elijah. In fear for his life, Elijah ran and hid in the wilderness.

First Kings 19:4 says, “But he [Elijah] himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he prayed that he might die, and said, ‘It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!’” Tired and discouraged, Elijah lay down to sleep.

I want you to think for a moment about how utterly exhausted — physically, mentally, and emotionally — Elijah must have been. He had been obedient and had done everything the Lord had asked him to say and do, but then a vengeful queen sought to kill him, and he was afraid. It was in this place of exhaustion that he cried out to God to kill him.

The Bible says in James 5:17 that “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours….” Those feelings of depression, insecurity, wanting to give up, and utter defeat that Elijah experienced are the very same passions and emotions that we face. And I want you to see that Jesus didn’t come to judge Elijah in those moments of despair; instead He came to bring His compassion to him. It was not time for Elijah to die; it was not time for his race to be finished. And it’s important for us to recognize that in the transforming process of our lives — when we move forward from where we are to the place we need to be in the Lord — the compassion of our God is toward us.

But even if we know God’s attitude toward us, our emotions can lie to us. They can say, This is enough. I can’t do this anymore. In essence, this is what Elijah was doing. He was saying, “I don’t want to prophesy again. I don’t want to kill another false prophet. I don’t want to face another evil king from Israel. I don’t want to depend on God for food anymore.” He was exhausted — done — and he asked God to kill him. The same passions and emotions that we contend with were moving and dictating Elijah’s desires and words.

So how did God show compassion toward Elijah?

In First Kings 19:5-7, we read, “Then as he [Elijah] lay and slept under a broom tree, suddenly an angel touched him, and said to him, ‘Arise and eat.’ Then he looked, and there by his head was a cake baked on coals, and a jar of water. So he ate and drank, and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came back the second time, and touched him, and said, ‘Arise and eat, because the journey is too great for you.’” Notice again that God did not judge Elijah; He came to minister to him personally.

It wasn’t time for Elijah to give up, but it was time for Elijah to get away from that tree and hear from God. So Elijah made a very long journey — about 180 miles — that took him 40 days and 40 nights to complete. And although Elijah was discouraged, he did not run from God. He ran to God, and his journey took him to Mount Horeb — the mountain of God.

The Bible passage continues, “And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’” (1 Kings 19:9).

And Elijah answered God: “…I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life” (1 Kings 19:10).

First Kings 19 continues, “Then He [God] said, ‘Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice. So it was, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. Suddenly a voice came to him, and said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’” (1 Kings 19:11-13).

Friend, this great prophet of God was so overwhelmed, he needed more than just hot bread, water, and a good night’s sleep. He needed to hear from God.

Sometimes the circumstances surrounding us can be so devastating that we end up believing the wrong voices and embracing the wrong emotions. And instead of moving forward with God, we park ourselves under a tree. But what we really need is to hear that still small voice. Jesus paid a tremendous price to bring His voice, His presence, and His power into our life through the Holy Spirit. He doesn’t want us to remain in the feelings and emotions of our flesh; instead, He desires that we are led by His Spirit who dwells inside us and transformed by His still small voice.

James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you….” Even in his discouraged and depressed state, Elijah was still trying to draw near to God. By running to Mount Horeb, Elijah was drawing near to God and God was drawing very near to Elijah. When Elijah heard the still small voice of God, the presence of God was so overwhelming that he covered his face with his mantle. This was the answer that Elijah needed — but he had to get away from that tree to hear the still small voice of God. This was his transforming moment.

In First Kings 19:14 and 15, the conversation between Elijah and God continues. Elijah once again responded to God, “…I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; because the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.” And the Lord said to Elijah, “…Go, return on your way to the Wilderness of Damascus; and when you arrive, anoint Hazael as king over Syria.”

Many years ago, my husband Rick and I were involved in the building project of our church in Riga, Latvia. The stress on my husband was overwhelming, and the requests for finances from the building contractors were relentless. God was so faithful, but many times the contractors would say, “OK, now I need X amount of money,” and “I need money for this,” and “I need money for that.” It became overwhelming to Rick.

One night, Rick was up in the middle of the night because he was worried and couldn’t sleep. He had his head on the desk, and he was crying out to the Lord, God, please help me. Where am I going to get the money needed to finish this project? And in the middle of his prayer, Rick felt a tap on his shoulder. It was Joel, our youngest son.

“Dad, what’s wrong? Why are you weeping?” Joel asked.

And Rick said to Joel, “Your dad is worried about the money that is still needed to be able to finish the building on time.”

To this, Joel responded, “Oh, Dad, hasn’t God already proven Himself faithful to you?” It was the tender question of a child that God used to comfort Rick’s heart. Just as God was to Elijah — not condemning or judging him but wanting to lift him up — so God was to my husband. The Holy Spirit, the Comforter, came and comforted my husband.

I tell you that story because so many times, like Elijah, when we feel mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted, we begin comparing ourselves with others, and we start to see ourselves as failures. But God does not come to judge or condemn us. He comes with His still small voice to comfort and encourage us; He comes to get us back up on our feet again and get us going in the right direction.

Elijah was transformed that day. In obedience to God’s leading and direction, he returned from Mount Horeb to anoint a new king over Israel and a new king over Syria. Elijah also passed his mantle to his successor Elisha. Then God raptured Elijah into Heaven, and he was taken up by a chariot of fire — never experiencing physical death.

Maybe you’re stuck under a tree like Elijah was and want to give up. Maybe you see yourself as a failure. But God doesn’t. He’s there with the power of the Holy Spirit to comfort you and help you at this very moment.

Romans 8:31-34 speaks of God’s everlasting love for us and His defense of us that we can declare in those moments of weakness or discouragement. It says, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”

Friend, nothing, absolutely nothing, can separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. There is no tree that we have to stay under. God has the hot bread and the water and the power to transform us and enable us to get up and get going. And we can hear His still small voice — the awesome presence of the Holy Spirit inside us — that speaks to us and gives us the encouragement and reassurance we need.

Thank you for allowing me to speak into your life. It truly is a privilege and an honor. I want to invite you to join me for my program, TIME With Denise Renner, on Wednesdays at 11:00 a.m. CT on YouTube and Facebook. You can also find me on Saturdays at 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. CT on GospelTruth.TV and Saturdays at 3:30 p.m. CT on PTL. And you can access my audio podcast on Spotify, Apple, and Google with new episodes every Monday at 5:00 a.m.

Will you let us pray with you? Please reach out to us if you have a prayer request. We are here for you, and our prayer team is ready to stand in faith with you. Just call 1.800.742.5593 or send us an email at We look forward to hearing about God’s transforming power that is working in your life!

We are moving forward together,

Denise Renner