Pity Party

Posted By: Dieuner Joseph | Thursday, March 14, 2019

Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. 1 Kings 19:5-6

It doesn’t take much for most of us to have a pity party. The loss of a job, or a troubled relationship, or a failed business, or physical illness, can easily entice us to have a pity party. I have had plenty of those parties throughout my lifetime; times when I felt justified in my melancholy.

Pity parties are usually poorly attended. Seldom is there more than one person in a pity party; which is precisely why pity-parties are mentally and emotionally draining and harmful. They exacerbate our sadness and can intensify our depression. There is no usefulness to a pity party because it is intended to make the host feel bad about his or her existential reality. No one has ever come out of a pity party feeling great about their self. We seldom want other people to know when we are having a pity party. Yet, most Christians always want to invite God to their pity party.

In today’s text, Elijah is having a pity party in the wilderness. After having defeated the prophets of Baal and killing over 400 of them, he ran for his life because Jezebel put a bounty on his head. Elijah was discouraged and felt defeated. He went to the wilderness to have his pity party and asked God to kill him. In so doing, he indirectly invited God to his pity party.

God did accept Elijah’s invitation. But before the Almighty went to the party, he first sent an angel to give Elijah food and water. That is called compassion. God did not want to confront Elijah when the prophet was at his most desperate state. Before any of us can challenge someone else to get over their pity-party, we first have to demonstrate compassion and meet the person where they are.

Elijah was at a place of physical hunger and needed physical rest. God was not going to be able to fix his emotional breakdown until he nourished his body with food and water. One of the best ways you and I can minister to someone who is having a pity-party is by helping to meet their most fundamental needs. This could be something as simple as cooking a home-cooked meal for the person, or mowing their lawn, or go and clean their house, or pick up their kids from school, or taking the person shopping for a new dress or new pair of slacks, etc.

Helping to meet the basic needs of others not only demonstrate compassion it also reminds the person that they are loved. Love is the greatest pity-party buster ever. It takes away melancholy and replaces it with joy. Love takes away loneliness and replaces it with a sense of fellowship and a zest for life.

God did send the angel to minister to Elijah a second time because Elijah needed the extra attention. We should not be quick to give up on people who may linger a little longer in their pity-party. Depending on the reason for the pity party, it may take longer for some people to get back to normal. In as much as God was patient with Elijah, we should pray for God to give us patience as we try to help others in their downturn.

When God finally showed up at Elijah’s pity-party, he did not criticize the prophet nor condemned him. Instead, he comforted him, corrected him, and commissioned him. God did not let Elijah off the hook for wanting to die; he simply reminded him that his frustration was unjustified because the Almighty had things in the works to deal with the issues that caused Elijah to have a pity party.

Can I tell you that God has things in the works to deal with the issues that are causing you to have a pity-party! If you invite him, he will make all things work together for your good. That is why the Psalmist reminds us to cast our burden on the Lord, and he will sustain us (Psalm 55:22). When God shows up to our pity party, he will break it up, build us up, and overwhelm us with his love so we can rejoice and celebrate his goodness.

Prayer- Blessed Lord, comfort those who are going through an existential downturn. Please remind them that you have a plan to prosper them and give them joy.

About The Author

Rev. Dieuner Joseph is a dynamic leader, disciple Maker, Writer, Talk Show host, and Spiritual counselor. Reverend Joseph is the founder of the Imani Temple Baptist Church and the Disciple Maker Ministry. He is a skilled Bible teacher who carefully and responsibly exegete the Scriptures to make them relevant to today’s readers. Through his Blog and weekly Christian magazine- The Wednesday Word- he seeks to provide Bible based instructions for dealing with the socio-political issues of today.

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