Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.
1 Kings 19:3a (NIV)
2022 has not been a banner year, to be perfectly honest. My one word for this year has been blessed.
“How’s that working out for you?” Wendy asked me a few weeks ago as we were discussing life.
I couldn’t help but imagine God impersonating Inigo Montoya saying to me: “‘Blessed.’ You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”
Indeed, it’s been a year of hard lessons.
Today’s chapter has always intrigued me, and in it, I have often found solace. The great prophet Elijah has just witnessed one of the most miraculous events recorded in the entire Great Story. He has watched God break through and win a great victory over his enemies against all odds. He should be feeling cocky and courageous despite the fact that he has stirred up his enemies’ vengeance.
But Elijah is afraid. Elijah wants to run, and run he does. Into the wilderness, he runs. Forty days and forty nights he runs.
A few months ago, I was having a cut-and-run moment amidst some stressful days . It happened to be on a Sunday morning and we were worshipping among our local gathering of Jesus’ followers. I asked for prayer and I literally told the sisters praying for me that I wanted to run from the circumstances stressing me. I’ll never forget what was said to me that morning.
“God gives us the desires of our hearts. So, go ahead and run. Just make sure you’re running into God’s arms.”
That’s exactly what Elijah did in today’s chapter. Afraid, worn out, and running on empty, he runs to the mountain of God and hides in a cave. God tells Elijah to go outside the cave and prepare himself for He is about to pass by.
Then, there was a violent wind, but God wasn’t in the wind.
Next came a powerful earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake.
After that, there was a raging fire, but God wasn’t in the fire.
God finally spoke to Elijah in a still, small voice – a gentle whisper.
And, you know what? That’s why I begin my days in the quiet. I love a dramatic eucatastrophe as much as anyone. God’s flashy victory on Mount Carmel was spectacular. I often want and expect God to bless me in a mighty wind, a rumbling mountain-moving quake, or with flashy and fiery pyrotechnics. Along my spiritual journey, I’ve come to understand that God typically blesses me as I sit alone in the quiet, even on stressful days in which I am afraid and feel like running for my life. It’s in my morning pages and my contemplation that I hear His gentle whisper.
What does He say? Basically, the same thing He told Elijah.
“Keep going. Press on. Do what I’ve given you to do.”
“I have blessed you in ways you don’t comprehend.”
“I am blessing you now, even if you don’t see it or perceive it.”
“You will be blessed beyond your wildest dreams at the journey’s end.“
And so, I leave the quiet and press forward with my day, each day, one day at a time.
Taking next week off to spend time with family. See ya next year!
If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.