Elijah found God asking him, "Elijah, what ARE YOU doing HERE?" (1 Kings 19)
Elijah was in a situation that propelled him into doubt, disappointment, and despair. God's prophet was hiding in a cave! Have there have been times in your life that you wished for a cave or a place to just hide until everything just worked itself out? Maybe you haven't, but I know I have!!!
We are all subject to finding ourselves in circumstances that invite us to follow Elijah into self-destructive pits of one kind or another! People were out to kill Elijah. But God had a plan for Elijah, and he has a plan for you as well! Overcoming doubt, disappointment, and despair is a theme at work in Elijah's story that can be applied to our stories as well. (God's Word is consistently appropriate for ALL times.)
Have all your valiant efforts been for naught? Elijah had devoted his life to proving God's power in desperate situations. He had "given his all" so to speak. Yet at this time things had not turned out as he had expected.
Have you ever "given your all" only to have things turn out in a way you didn't expect? Maybe there were misunderstandings, lapses in judgement, or forces beyond your control that caused doubt and disappointment in circumstances ...... or people. ........ Being a part of the human condition - is dealing with disappointment. (Perhaps beginning early with the Santa experience.....)
Elijah found himself plagued with doubt which led to disappointment. Just like Elijah, we are all susceptible to that downward spiral when life does not meet our expectations. Elijah was in the throes of despair, wishing his life away, wondering how he ever came to this!
Elijah couldn't even function! All he could do was sleep!! God provided the example that ignoring our physical needs when in emotional turmoil is not a good way to find healing! God provided food, water, and rest for His prophet before dealing with the situation! If we are in a difficult place we MUST have plenty of rest and good food. (This is why we take FOOD to the grieving - you know all those casseroles are invitations to take care of physical needs!)
Elijah's depressed attitude skewed the truth for him. Have you ever assumed something only to find out later it was just not so? Elijah couldn't even remember the victories God had provided for His people because he was so focused on His current problem. (Queen Jezebel was after his head, after all - a definite problem.)
But then...... God asked the question, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
And then God showed his power just for Elijah by way of strong wind, an earthquake, and then fire. But Elijah was not harmed. (Has God ever tried to get your attention????)
But then Elijah heard Gods "still small voice" in the form of a whisper. And God asked a second time, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
What a mountaintop experience!!!!! (But remember, it came on the heels of an experience in a cave AND a PIT!)
Elijah did not give God the "church answer". He was transparent before God. He poured out his heart! In a nutshell - "I have done all the right things, God. So how can you let me be in this sorry situation? I have given you my all, and now they are coming after me."
We can be transparent before God in our most challenging situations! He already knows our heart. But we must acknowledge what He already knows!!
And God instructed Elijah to go and prepare others to carry out His plan. Anoint a new king and a new prophet. Let go control and watch God do wondrous things that only He can do. It's not all about YOU, Elijah!
Sometimes we have to just let go and know that God in His wisdom has a plan, and that plan might be to use us (or maybe others) to carry on and carry out justice, bring situations to a positive conclusion, or whatever....... It is really freeing to know that ultimate control belongs to Him.
We should be transparent with Him about our disappointments and longings, just as Elijah was. And then He will speak.
He doesn't want us to succumb to a downward spiral!
Rest of story......
Elijah became a mentor to Elisha the new prophet, and later was taken up to Heaven from his chariot. God had a plan. It was better than Elijah's plan. And Elijah wasted many days in despair because he doubted God's provision. (2 Kings 2)
We can't live on the mountain forever - but the mountaintop experiences help us in the valley of everyday life.
When DOUBT threatens to throw us into DISAPPOINTMENT - listen to His "still small voice". He will make a way and lift us out of our DESPAIR and into His peace, contentment, and wonder!
Elijah had experience with a cave, a pit, and a mountain! Which do you prefer?
Thank you, God, that you are always available to lift us when we find ourselves doubting you or disappointed in our circumstances. Help us to listen to you daily. Help us to be transparent as we pour out our hearts out to you. Help us follow your instruction and leave the results to you. Amen.