Day 4: SOS Elijah [20 Leaders in 20 Days]

SOS Elijah

What are you doing here, Elijah?

I’m the only one left.  The work You’ve called me to will fail.

I’ve done everything You’ve asked.  I’ve stood before kings to bring word of drought and economic ruin.  I’ve called Your fire from heaven and destroyed the prophets of Baal.

We fed a widow’s family.  We raised a little boy from the dead.

I’ve prayed for rain and You’ve answered.   I’ve seen miracle after miracle I know You are Who You claim to be.  But I still don’t understand so many things.

This nation has turned its back on You.  Your covenant lies broken.  The government is twisted in evil and your places of worship are a ruin.  Your servants are dead. And in spite of Your power, I am in the wilderness running for my life and it looks like nothing has really changed.

I’m the only one left and now they are trying to kill me too.

Go out and stand on the mountain.  I am about to pass by.

 I went.  Standing in wait I closed my eyes as a tempest built around me.  The wind built and screamed until nothing could stand before it.  The swirling air focused and increased in intensity.  I opened my eyes to see the very mountain before me torn apart by the force of the storm.

I was in awe of the sheer power of it.  The deafening roar took on a darker, pounding shape and the distant rocks themselves began to unravel in fits and starts.  They literally blasted apart from the repeated blows of furious fists of wind.

It was a storm that could sweep the earth clean of Everything.  My eyes went wide at the thought that this was the end.  It was too much.  We had gone too far and now the price would be paid in holy judgment.  This tempest would swell and rise and flow until there was nothing left.

But the Lord was not in the wind.  It began to subside, the storm of rage and dust lost its drive and power.  More quickly than I would have believed, it fell silent entirely.

I heard a rumbling as a low frequency in the distance and the ground beneath me trembled then fell still.  Tilting my head to find it’s direction, it began again.  A wave buckled the ground as far as I could see in a surreal fluid motion my eyes wouldn’t accept.  I waited for it to stop, for things to return to normal.

But it didn’t stop.  The shaking grew in violence and depth until the mountains bowed to its inimitable will.  Rocks fell and were thrown, sliding crazily and resettling as pieces of the earth rose and fell like the ocean.

No kingdom could stand against this.  No city, no agency, no academic ideal could withstand the wrath of the very earth itself coming to swallow them up.  How small we are!  We’re a thin skin on the surface of the earth, easily scraped away to start fresh, like a child washing dishes after an evening meal.

But the Lord was not in the earthquake.

I held my breath as the next wave in my lesson arrived.

It was fire.

I felt the flames before I saw them, the heat radiating in pulsing waves as it crested the horizon before me.  At some point, a cool wind began to blow towards the flames and I realized in a moment of fear that column of fire was pulling in air from the surrounding area to consume it, along with everything in its path.

Trees were consumed in seconds before a wall of fire hundreds of feet high.  It charged across the side of the mountain leaving a field of ash.  The flames superheated the trees and smoke rose black and white from the fury of the red storm running.

Again I thought, who could stand against this?  Who would dare defy the One who, with a thought, could reduce a nation in glory to ash and ruin without appeal?  I looked for the Lord, I listened for His voice.

But the Lord wasn’t in the fire.

After the fire came a gentle whisper.  I heard it and pulled my cloak around me, returning to the mouth of the cave where I had spent the night in hiding.

What are you doing here, Elijah?

 I’m the only one left.  My words were very much the same as my former prayer.

But this time, it was with a different voice that I answered.  I was shaken by the experience on the mountain, humbled by a power beyond imagining.

When God spoke again, it was with gentleness.  I was to anoint kings over Aram and Israel.

And I was to finally meet my successor.  The work would continue.

Most encouraging of all, I learned that I wasn’t alone.  Thousands in Israel still followed the Voice that Whispered and God’s purpose in the earth was as it should be.

The things we do consume us.  Our perspective fills up our world.  Like children, the hurt and fear of the moment seems like everything there is.

But it’s not everything there is.

I had forgotten that our lives are threads in a tapestry in the hands of a master weaver.  We’re not alone in what we do, even when we are faithful and discouraged and the path is hard to see.

Our effect to generations to come is measured by the One Who walks upon the wind, Whose very Presence causes the mountains to tremble and Whose Heart is an all consuming fire.  Look beyond the enemies.  Know that God is mighty beyond anything we’ve ever dreamed.

I learned that often He chooses to work, not through a show of power, but through a whisper to a human heart.  The hope that I found wasn’t in strength to move mountains, but in the knowledge that I wasn’t alone.

We are part of something bigger than we could ever accomplish on our own.  What discouragement could stand in the face of such love?

The Lord heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived.  Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house.  He gave him to his mother and said, “Look, your son is alive!”

Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth.” (The First Book of Kings, 17)

Devotional Thought for the Day

Elijah was devoted wholly to God, always waiting for Him and listening for His voice.  And God responded to Elijah’s prayers.  But surrounded by the unfaithful, he became fearful and discouraged. He lost perspective for a time focusing on his situation and himself rather than God.  Have you noticed there are certain situations in your ministry where you lose perspective?  Do you become discouraged easily when it isn’t going as you’d planned?  What do you need to do to ward off discouragement, maintain perspective and more fully honor God?

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