TD Jakes - Stop Living In Limbo
Very few people look behind for the why; they pray for the what. Elijah has the insight to understand the driving force of the famine is a result of the drought. So, he sticks his head between his knees and he prays for rain, and when the answer comes, it looks insignificant. It is the size of a man's hand, but out of small will come great abundance of rain. I preached in Washington a few weeks ago, "The New Big is Small". That big stuff is gonna come out of small places. That unlikely people are going to come to the forefront. That the new big is small. Great things are gonna be incubated in small places. God gives us the first hint in childbirth, that out of small places comes great things. And it rained, and God said, "Slack not thy bidding and get thee out and tell Ahab the rain is coming".
And Elijah has outrun the chariot, he has called fire down from heaven, he has humiliated 450 prophets of Baal. He has taken them down to the river and slain 450 prophets, which takes us from exuberance to exhaustion. I came in the house the other day, Governor, I told my wife, I said, "Girl," I said, "I'm so tired". She said, "I guess you are". And I thought I was gonna get some comfort, you know, some soothing words of empathy. She said, "You've been going like a madman for months and months, I guess you should be tired". I was shocked because I was tired, because when you have the anointing to be exuberant, exhaustion is a stranger.
See, some of y'all don't get that because you're exhausted all the time. I understand that, but I'm gonna have a point for you in a minute. But to those of us who are fighters, to those of us who call fire down from heaven, to those of us who will make it rain up in here, we don't have time to be tired because we've got goals, we've got giants to kill, we've got mountains to climb, we've got things we want to get done for God, and exhaustion is not in our purview. And I know he's exhausted, because you can tell you're exhausted when your emotions betray you. One of the symptoms of exhaustion isn't just the need for sleep, it will show up in your emotional stability. And his emotions have now betrayed him, and he is depressed, and he goes up under a juniper tree not to rest, but to die. He goes to the juniper tree to die at the voice of a woman.
This man who withstood 450 prophets of Baal has now started running from a woman, one woman. I don't care who she is, she couldn't be that bad, one woman? You call fire down from heaven and you're running from one woman who said, "If God be God, by tomorrow this time I will utterly destroy you". And he ran up under the juniper tree, tired. So tired he didn't notice that 24 hours had passed and he was still here. Is there anybody in the room, have you not noticed that whatever threatened you, you are still? I wish I had some survivors in this place, some people that could testify to the fact that had you listened at the voices that spoke up against you, you wouldn't be sitting where you're sitting right now. The very fact that you're alive, tired or not, is a testimony to the authenticity of God.
Nudge somebody and say, "I'm still here". If I don't make any more money, I'm still here. If I don't finish my master's, I'm still here. If I don't get my doctorate, I'm still here. The fact that I'm still here is victory all by itself. I made it through hell and high water. He is exhausted. I see you, bless your heart. She wanted me to see her give it. I saw you. Now, thank you, God bless you. He is exhausted. I'm not talking about the kind of, you know, sleepy. There's a difference between sleepy and exhausted. Exhausted is not just, just, about sleep, it's about emptiness. It's about brain fatigue. It's about a lapse of energy. It's a collapsing of stamina. It is a betrayal of emotions. Exhaustion will make you start crying and not know why. Exhaustion will make you run from things you could beat. Give up on causes you could have won. Exhaustion and depletion comes after exuberance.
You cannot continue to produce at 140 miles an hour and not be depleted. It is not logical to think that you can be everybody's savior and never become exhausted. I know it was exhaustion, because when he gets to the juniper tree God does nothing divine to revive him, he simply supplies physical need, sleep and food. Sleep and food. No fire coming down from heaven, no wind, no lightning, no thunder, no uproar, no spiritual uprising, no flapping of angel's wings, just sleep and eat. There are some problems that we have that do not require divine assistance but the meeting of natural needs. Elijah, you haven't lost your power, you're just tired. You haven't lost your gift, you're just tired, baby. You're still my prophet, you're just tired. It's okay to be tired. And the Bible says that he ate and fell asleep, and then ate and then fell asleep.
But that's what happens when you outrun chariots. Look at all the stuff you outran. Look at all the stuff you outran. Look at all the stuff you outran with no wheels and no horse, and you still got there. They gave you less to work with and you still got there. Oh, I feel like I'm talking to somebody. God's getting ready to renew your strength. God's getting ready to revive your power. God's getting ready to give you your energy back. God's getting ready to renew you. It's not gonna be an anointing, it's not gonna be an unction, God's got a natural answer to a natural problem. You have been running, you've been running past chariots, and sometimes because we have hero complexes, we don't know how to deal with exhaustion because we are trained to deal with exuberance. And in the face of exhaustion, we have not been wired to see exhaustion as a natural thing, we see exhaustion as failure.
Exhaustion and failure are not the same thing. It's the same reason that the priest could not live in the Holy of Holies, because you can't be that kind of anointed all the time. You gotta come out to the most holy place and eat bread, and drink wine, and have some normalcy. You can't stay producing at 100%. It's the same reason we have fall and winter, so that the trees can rest and the ground can refurbish, because you can't be fruitful 24 hours a day. Stop thinking that God left you just because your season changed. He may have changed your season to sustain your fruitfulness. Though your leaves turn brown, it doesn't mean that God is dead. He's ordered rest and food.
And the Bible says that God fed him and let him sleep, and when he woke up he said, "No, go back to bed, eat some more, go back to sleep". Don't be guilty because you're tired. It's okay to be tired, because as mighty as you are, and as much as you outran, you have the right to rest. I just released somebody, I don't know who it is. It's not that I put them to bed, I released you of the guilt of entering into another season. You don't have to do what you used to do because you already did it. I don't have to perform like I performed when I was 30, because I've already been 30, so I don't have to keep producing at the same level just to entertain your idea of me at the expense of losing me. I have got to enjoy every stage I'm in. Whoo, God have mercy. I said all of that to explain how this mighty man finds himself exhausted.
Now renewed in strength, he continues in the strength of that meat for 40 days. In the strength of that meat 40 days. I don't know whether he should have gone further in 40 days or whether he should have risen to the level of preparing his next meal, but for some reason, God does not expect to see Elijah, in point three, exile. If God expected the cave to be his next resting place, then why does God say, "What doest thou here"? Why are you stuck in limbo? Why did I have to come find you? Elijah, why are you in this cave? And there are people in this room that are living in limbo. You're not where you used to be, but you're not where you're gonna be. You took a pit stop that became permanent, and people don't even know that you are in a cave. It is possible to be in a cave and still fool people, because all caves are not made out of rocks. They're emotional layovers.
I was talking to a young man last night, he said, "I finally got in from out of town," I said, "Why so late"? He said, "My plane was delayed". Limbo will make you... all I know is that Elijah was not where God expected him to be for the days he gave him. I gave you 40 days, you should have been further. I didn't give you 40 days that you would make a destination out of a pit stop. I did not create this level of greatness for you to be a caveman. I'm almost finished, are you with me? Am I talking to anybody in this room? He is in a cave, a cave that makes God ask him... When God asks you a question, you are in a strange place. God is omnipotent, all-powerful, omnipresent, in all places, omniscient, all-knowing, so that means that God has never asked anything he couldn't answer. He's never needed anything he couldn't supply. He never thought of anything he couldn't create. He is all-sufficient. He is El Shaddai. He is complete within himself, lacking absolutely nothing, and yet God asked him.
I don't understand how you got here. I didn't feed you to end up in a cave. I didn't give you cruises of water for you to end up in a cave. I didn't give you all I gave you, all the giftings, all the power, for you to run from things that are lesser than you. You let her run you home? You let her run you back? By the way, she ain't your problem. I will deal with her as soon as I figure out what's wrong with you. Jezebel is a false antagonist. She is a false antagonist. Sometimes we put too much energy into fighting what are not really our battles. And Elijah is in exile, and God says, "What are you doing here? What are you doing in this place"? And then he tells him what he told him before Mount Carmel, what he told him at the juniper tree, what he told him in the cave, is his underlying belief system. I'm almost closed. You can call fire down from heaven, you can destroy 450 prophets of Baal, you can see rain before it falls, you can outrun chariots, but you can't outrun a faulty belief system.
Can I go a little bit deeper? Because it's not good for me to analyze the problem if I'm not gonna give you the solution. So, if you're gonna get out of limbo, you gotta understand what's got to die. It's not Jezebel that's got you in the cave, and if you're not careful you'll be fighting the wrong thing and wondering why you're not getting the right result. Your enemy is in-a-me. Y'all didn't get that. I'm gonna try it for the people in the back. Your enemy is in-a-me. It's not outside of me, it's not what they said about me, it's not what she threatened me with. It is not what Jezebel said that's killing you, it is what you are saying to yourself over, and over, and over, and over again. Whenever you squeeze Elijah, the same toothpaste comes out. "Ain't nobody left but me, Lord. All the prophets are dead and I alone am left, and now they seek to take my life".
The same mouth that called fire down from heaven, the same mouth that called Yahweh to move in the face of the prophets of Baal could not withstand the voice in his own head. The voice in your own head signifies your belief system. I'm not talking about your confession of faith. I'm not talking about your positive profession. I'm not talking about the things you say onstage. I'm not talking about the things you do when you're doing what you do like you do when nobody else can do what you do like you do it. I'm talking about the stuff you say at two o'clock in the morning in your own head. Your belief system has nothing to do with your performance. You can perform like a giant and believe like a wimp. Notice I said belief system. It's a system. It's a system, a system. Systems have a way of being invisible. When I say something is a system, you can't touch it, it's a culture, it's a way things work in your own head. A system of belief has brought him to a place of limbo, because in spite of what he does, he still believes that all the prophets of God are dead, and he is alone, and now they seek my life.
Suppose, just suppose what you believe about you isn't true. I'm not saying it's not true, let's have the courage to challenge the understanding we stand under, because it could be possible that you are standing under false perceptions. And the reason you keep getting defeated is not because of what they are saying about you, it is what you are saying to you. What kept bringing, this is a good message, Lord have mercy. What kept bringing Elijah to living in limbo is that you operate up under a creed, an oath that's never been written, and when God comes down to counsel him, you know you're bad when you got God as a therapist. God becomes Elijah's therapist, and all a therapist does is help you dig out what's in you. They don't give you answers, they help you unearth answers by asking questions.
So, God becomes what Isaiah said he was, a wonderful counselor. And when God says, "What doest thou here"? it's not because he doesn't know, he is trying to help Elijah question himself to find the answer. Because whatever is wrong with you, the answer is already in you. They didn't get that, I'm gonna try to tell you. Whatever is going on with you, the answer is somewhere locked up inside of you. Whatever put you in limbo, whatever locked you in a cave, whatever shut you down, it's not gonna come from who you marry, who you lay with, who you court, who you date, who you sleep with, they can't fix you, because the enemy is in-a-me, and until you pull the answer out of your guts. Out of your belly shall flow rivers of living water. If I'm helping somebody, give him 30 seconds of crazy praise.