|Elijan hears God's still small voice - Artist unknown|
TO CHEW ON: "Then a voice said to him, 'What are you doing here, Elijah?' He replied, 'I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty...' " 1 Kings 19:13,14.
I can understand Elijah's total exhaustion and discouragement. Even three years of famine and defeating the prophets of Baal hadn't won the people over to God. Now he was on the run from Jezebel again. Despite his 100% commitment to God the results were zero and he felt like a total failure.
Elijah's story and the way God dealt with him have lessons for us to learn when:
- We've completed a project.
I'm sure Elijah was glad the three-years of no rain was over and had ended in the grand climax that it did. He'd finished his assignment and finished well. But, as often happens when a project is finished, he experienced a big let-down—especially when the results were not what he'd hoped for.
Lesson: We need to anticipate the let-down that's typical after a project is done.
- We're physically exhausted.
Elijah's run from Jezebel sapped any remaining energy he had. Utterly depleted, his attitude was affected by his physical state of hunger, thirst, and fatigue. Sleep and the bread and water the angel served perked him up considerably.
Lesson: We need to take care of our bodies, eating, drinking, sleeping, and taking work breaks to stay physically and emotionally healthy. Knowing the body's vulnerability in this area also helps us be empathetic with others when they're feeling ill or just tired and hungry.
- We need to hear from God.
Elijah most likely expected to hear from God in the fire, wind, and earthquake. He didn't Instead God spoke in a "still small voice."
Lesson: We can have our ears tuned for that "still small voice" too. Perhaps we'll hear it in the lyrics of a children's song, the kind gestures of a friend or insights from a book we're reading—especially if that book is the Bible.
- We feel our lives have been a failure.
Twice when Elijah talked to God he expressed disappointment in the results of his life (1 Kings 19:4,14) God didn't contradict him or list his successes. Instead, He gave Elijah new assignments, assignments that told him the story wasn't finished and wouldn't be finished with him.
Lesson: We need to remember that we too are only a short chapter in God's story. It didn't start with us and won't end with us. We need to be okay with writing our chapter and leaving the continuation and ending to Him.
PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to use common sense to care for myself physically, and to judge my life's success by my obedience to You, rather than outward successes. Amen.
Unless noted otherwise, all Scriptures quoted in this meditation are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.