I hope you have followed the previous two blogs on dealing with despair from the point of view of the Prophet Elijah.
Notice how God dealt with Elijah. He used a blend of tough confrontation and tender compassion to nourish him back to where He wanted him to be. Just as Elijah had to be in training before his great displays of trust and obedience, he again needed God to teach him lessons of divine providence.
Comfort and Care. "So he arose, and ate and drank; and he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights as far as Horeb, the mountain of the God" ( v.8). God provided Elijah with food and rest to care for his fatigue. Elijah asked for death, but instead God brought him a meal to keep him alive. Sometimes, what we need more than anything else when we are in despair is rest and refreshment. Without that, we don't have the strength needed to recover. So, in renewed strength, Elijah traveled for 40 more days, stopping at a cave at Horeb.
Confrontation With God in Two Stages: A Powerful Question. "The word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" (v.9). This is a key question. God had sent Elijah to Samaria, Cherith, Zarephath, and Carmel. But He hadn't sent him to Horeb. "Why are you here?" A superficial answer could have been, "I fear Jezebel.: But the real answer is seen in Elijah's words of verse 10: "I have been very zealous for the Lord God of host; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life." In other words, "I am here because I am unappreciated and full of self-pity." This is a far cry from his bold proclamation on Carmel.
A Surprising Encounter. "Then He said, "Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord." And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind and earthquake, but the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice: ( v v.11-12).
God sent messengers from nature-fire, wind, and an earth-quake- to remind Elijah that God is God, and that Elijah is not to be ruled by despair. The still small voice of God spoke, and that's when Elijah hid his face ( v.13). He expected the power of God, but he was met by the Person of God. In this place of quiet communion, Elijah was...
- reminded of God's power,
- reminded of God's character, and
- reminded of God's love, mercy, and peace.
After a few months of mourning, questioning God, and wondering why me, I determined that the events that were unfolding in my life were bigger than me. The deaths of my daughter and husband threw me for a loop, but I had a son, son-in-law and granddaughter, that needed my love, support and presence of mind. I looked inwardly and asked God to direct my steps and give me wisdom to know how to navigate through this pool of despair. I decided to write a book, continue my mentor ship group, accept my elevation to the pastoral call, as well as add balance to my life by taking care of my physical, psychological, and emotional well-being.
Clarity of Truth. "Yet I have reserved seven thousand in Israel all whose knees have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that has not kissed him" ( v.18). Elijah needed a dose of reality to help blast him out of his despair. Our point of view is rarely accurate when seen through despairing eyes. Elijah needed to wake up and see things as they were, not as he had painted them-to be. He was not the only faithful servant of God after all (although in 1 Kings19:1), he had said, "I alone am left"). he was just the only one hiding at Horeb. Just like Elijah, we love the big wins and the stirring victories. But what about the silent battles of the soul? Elijah thought he was strong, but he had to learn how weak he was and how desperate he needed God. We need to learn that too.
Have a great weekend:
Don't Forget To Say Your Prayer