I have read the story of the prophet, Elijah, more than once and I have heard Bible teachers teach about him many times. When he stood before the people and challenged them to choose whom they would follow, his faith was amazing. He knew his God was bigger than any god that the Israelites had been led astray to follow. He knew there was nothing his God could not do, and he boldly called down fire from heaven and promised rain during a drought because he believed God would answer his prayers. But as soon as he got wind of Jezebel’s threat to kill him, he became afraid and he ran and hid. And not only did he run and hide, but he cried out to God to take his life because he figured he was doomed. Then God lovingly sent an angel to minister to Elijah and to provide for him to strengthen him for his journey. The story of Elijah has always been an amazing reminder of incredible faith and of God’s provision of strength when we need it.
But as I read the story again, something new jumped out at me and God gave me a personal message.
And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” – 1 Kings 19:9
“What are you doing here?” God was not asking Elijah why he had arrived at a certain geographical location. I believe he was asking him how he had gone from a place of enough faith to defeat 500 prophets of Baal to a place where he was full of fear and despair over his current situation. I believe God was asking Elijah two things: “How did you get to this ‘poor me, what will I do’ place?” and “When did you forget that I am still in control?”
Like Elijah did when he panicked, ran and hid, I tend to get caught up in my struggles. When things aren’t going the way I hoped they would go, I start to panic and I frantically start scrambling for a solution. As I read that verse, I could hear God asking me, “What are you doing here?” How did I get to a place where I was focusing so much on things that are out of my control? When did I decide that my problems were bigger than my God?
At some point, Elijah pulled it together and got back on the move for God. He decided to trust that if God had brought him this far, he wasn’t just going to give up on him now. He stood up, brushed off his tunic and left the dark, depressing cave he was hiding in. God had a plan for Elijah, and he has a plan for you and for me. We need to trust him to work it all out. As it’s been said, “Things aren’t falling apart, they’re falling into place.”
To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy. – Jude 1:24