He looked around and there beside his head was some bread baked on hot stones and a jar of water! 1 Kings 19:6 NLT
Only by carrying as little as possible can they reach their goal.
Each year, thousands of backpackers set out to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. Statistics reveal that only about twenty-five percent of those who begin make it to the end—some 2,000 miles away.
Those who accomplish the feat learn to live with the bare essentials. The pack of an experienced hiker weighs somewhere between twenty and twenty-five pounds. Anywhere from eight to fourteen pounds of that is food. This doesn’t leave much weight for their essentials, which are toilet paper, toiletries, a cooking stove, a water filter, clothes, first aid materials, and a sleeping bag.
To reduce weight, thru-hikers carry nothing but the necessities. They leave the tent and sleep in AT shelters. They may even remove the tube from the toilet paper roll. Every pound counts when living with the bare essentials for six months.
The prophet Elijah found himself temporarily living with the bare essentials. He had challenged the 450 prophets of Baal and their counterparts—the 400 prophets of Asherah—to a contest on Mount Carmel. The time had come to reveal the true God, and the one God would reveal Himself by fire. Elijah’s God won, and Elijah eliminated the false prophets.
But the wicked queen wasn’t happy. She placed a twenty-four-hour death sentence on Elijah, causing him to run for his life. Tired, depressed, and lying under the shade of a tree, Elijah was awakened by an angel. God provided him with food—but it was only the bare essentials of bread and water.
Sometimes, God takes us down to the nitty-gritty. He removes so much from us that we, like Elijah, wonder how we can go on. And perhaps, we don’t want to. But God doesn’t take us to these unhappy places to destroy us or to cause us to give up.
When God gives us only the bare essentials, it is so our trust and faith in Him will grow. He knows this will only happen if He removes some things or changes some circumstances. Often, the more we have the more selfish we become. God wants us to remember everything we have comes from Him and should be used for His Kingdom's work in some way.
Living with the bare essentials teaches us to depend on God—not things, position, identity, or others. We can look up to the One who has our best interests at heart when it appears we’re at our lowest point.
When God takes you down to the bare essentials, trust that He knows what He is doing.
Prayer: Father, in our times of living with the bare essentials, we trust You.
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