The truth is that such experiences of desperation and need of God are common to all men of God. If even Elijah got so low that he wanted to die is it any wonder a man of God in the spotlight like Driscoll has experienced a season of feeling the way he describes himself. I am pleased that Driscoll has been taking counsel from the likes of C.J. Mahaney. I just hope that he will be able to take some time out and rest — perhaps someone else can fill his pulpit for a few weeks? It is surely a great load to preach every Sunday for so many years — even if that was all a man did – which of course it isn’t.
Interestingly, the last two times I preached there were passages that spoke from my own experience of the frailty of the messenger. Perhaps these will help you if you have gone further down the road to exhaustion and despair than it sounds like Driscoll has:
“Hope is infectious . . . as is despair. We should surround ourselves with those who will instill hope into us! But our hope must come from the Scriptures and not a false whipped-up hope. I can speak personally about how this works. As I was a bit tired out before Christmas, I asked Tope for a break from preaching for awhile. This was a good thing as everyone needs a break from time to time. But I lifted my foot off the accelerator a bit regarding my study of God’s Word, and was also not praying as much – obviously when you are preparing to preach you study more and pray more. But what I found was that as my break from the hard work of preaching lengthened, my level of hope was slowly being reduced. I found myself feeling even quite fearful. I remember even having the thought come into my mind, “Perhaps I’ve forgotten how to preach.” But there were also a couple of personal situations where I was beginning to allow fear to have a foothold. So, how did I deal with this? Well, two things seem to have lifted me. The first was that I received prayer on Saturday morning. The second was that as I went back to a more rigorous Bible study program and began to pray more, I found that hope began to return and fear subsided. It is God’s Word, soaked in prayer, that gives us hope, that lifts us, that gives us life! God wants us increasingly to be almost aggressive in how much we place our hope in His Word. Many prayers in the Bible remind God of His promises and almost “sue” him to act. I believe God responds to that kind of prayer – prayer that is mixed with God’s own Word.” (God’s Reviving Word)
The second message was when I was preaching about the prayer life of Elijah and touched on the time he felt like that as follows:
“God does not mind if you get to the end of your own strength and cry out to Him in despair. But He certainly doesn’t want to leave you there in your despair. Now, for Elijah, suddenly it isn’t a dead boy that needs reviving, or a wet sacrifice that needs the fire to fall on it, or the rain clouds that must be summoned. We see here that God is still interested in the man Elijah – who, in this story more than any other, shows us that he was just a weak man like us. When a weak man or woman comes to God, then God is eager to REVIVE them, which is exactly what happened to Elijah. We must remember that it is not merely a matter of what words we use when we pray, or even what emotion we feel. It is more a question of who we are coming to. Elijah comes to the living God. And when the living God meets a man who wants to die, what is the result? Life from death. A new start. A new commission. As I was preparing this, I believe God dropped into my heart that there would be some here who had been this desperate, who like Elijah felt they had been faithful, but like Elijah they believed they had reached the end of the road. Perhaps you even had a “ministry” that is now “over” in your mind. Perhaps you feel you disqualified yourself. God is in the business of restoring and reviving us and wants to do just that to you.” (Reviving Prayer)