Rest—and the time and support required to get it—can be difficult to find in the rush and thrum of a full schedule. But God designed his creation with a need for community and external support. Let’s reflect on the artist Gustave Doré’s depiction of Elijah receiving divine caretaking.
Now, let’s read the passage the piece is based on, 1 Kings 19:5b-6:
“Suddenly, an angel touched him. The angel told him, ‘Get up and eat.’ Then he looked, and there at his head was a loaf of bread baked over hot stones, and a jug of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again.”
Look at the postures of Elijah and the angel. What do they tell you about how each figure might be feeling at that moment? Do you relate to one posture more than the other? How in your life have you been both the caretaker and the cared for?
Notice how the print frames Elijah with a lighter colored ground, giving the impression of holding Elijah up. Imagine you are him. What does it feel like to be supported this way? Is it gritty? Soft? What fears or hopes do you have as you (quite suddenly) receive God’s provision?
This scene takes place after Elijah, exhausted and despairing, tells the Lord, ” “I have had enough! Lord, take my life, for I’m no better than my ancestors,” (1 Kings 19:4). If you could tell God how you are feeling right now without a filter or forethought, what would you say? How do you hope God would respond?
This image was first carved in the negative onto a wood block in 1866. Imagine the sound and the feeling of a carving chisel gliding through wood. What parts of you do you feel like God is carving out right now? What do you imagine God is revealing in you even now?
You can find more of Gustave Doré’s art in the beautiful CSB Adorned Bible!