I have been very jealous for the Lord God of hosts: because the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thine altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away. I Kings 19:14
Do you ever feel alone? Even in the middle of a big church, or in a group of friends, or with family that love you?
Elijah did. Through this 40 day journey of winning a huge battle, then wanting to die, questioning God, having God speak to him personally, Elijah gets to one of the main problems.
He feels alone.
It seems to me that he knew God was with him - he was standing there talking to Him. He had been fed by angels, seen fire from heaven, talked to that still small voice. He knew he wasn’t truly alone, he could see God. Yet still, he feels alone.
He feels that he is the only one left in all of Israel who is still serving God. Put other ways, we might say, I’m the only one who understands, no one else knows what I feel, no one loves me, on and on the list goes. But it can all be summed up in the phrase, I, even I only, am left.
God could have said, you’re not alone, I’m right here. Or said, you’re a prophet, you should know that I have thousands of followers in Israel and you’re not alone. But He didn’t.
As we’ve seen over and over again in this story, God treats Elijah with tender care. He gently assures Elijah that he is not alone. And then one of my favourite parts come. The very next thing God does is lead Elijah to Elisha.
He gave Elijah a friend, a partner in the ministry. It would have been nice for the rest of us if their names weren’t so close - who can ever remember who did which miracles? But God led Elijah to the exact person he needed to go on. To be useful again. To serve again.
This summer, particularly the last month, has been quite intense for me. I was in a place of deep depression without realizing I had gone back there. After two years of feeling very little depression I thought I had better control over it and that if I did go back, I would notice. But I did not.
That, combined with some real problems going on in my life, made me feel as though I was very alone. I had told myself again that there was no one who understood, or loved me.
Actually, if I’m honest, I was afraid that if I told people what I was really thinking and feeling that they would write me off. That I would be dismissed. That I couldn’t tell people what I was thinking without losing their respect. Until one day, I couldn’t hold it in any longer. And a dear, sweet friend sat and listened to me. And loved me. And was not scared off by my brokenness.
That conversation was so important to me that I took some other steps. Then things got even worse and I got some hard news. Life changing news. But I kept thinking about these verses and this series on Elijah. God kept reminding me, he was never alone. And you aren’t either.
So I reached out again. In some general ways, but very specific with some people. I told a few my hard story. And they loved me anyway. And yesterday I told a friend my hard story, and not just that, but exactly how I was feeling about it. All the confusion, the doubt, the non-spiritual side of me.
And I am not alone.
And you aren’t either. No matter how alone you feel you are. No matter how broken. No matter how scared or non-spiritual you are feeling. No matter what.