What is your view of God?
Do you see Him as someone ready to rain down his wrath on you whenever you make a mistake? Growing up as a christian, we would often make jokes about stepping away from someone because they were about to be hit by lightning, or that you might get a stomach ache if you ate before you prayed. Even though we were joking, those kind of thoughts can be indicative of how we view God.
When we look at the continuing story of Elijah, we see a much different view of God. So far, Elijah has asked God to kill him, had a breakdown by the brook, felt sorry for himself, and is running away from Jezebel. All understandable things, many things that I’ve done myself. Maybe not run from Jezebel, but life can sure feel like it sometimes, am I right?
If ever there were a story where you might think God would just strike someone with lightning, this might be it.
But as we continue in I Kings 19, we see quite the opposite.
Elijah comes to a cave at the end of his 40 days of miraculous strength on that last meal.
“And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?” vs 9
God has given Elijah his rest, his strength, and now its time to get him back into shape and have a little conversation. Elijah pours out his discouragement. He basically says that someone who did so much for God shouldn’t have to go through what he’s going through. And not only that, that he’s very alone.
Wow. Sounds exactly how I feel sometimes. Yet we can tell right off the bat that this is wrong. We know that as children of God we are not exempt from suffering and we are never alone, but at the darkest times, this is exactly how we feel.
We might expect lightning. Maybe Elijah expected it too. After he spoke there was a wind so strong it broke rocks in pieces. But the Lord was not in the wind. Then an earthquake. But the Lord was not in the earthquake. Then a fire. But the Lord was not in the fire.
The Lord was not in any of the destructive forces. Elijah stood and watched destruction take place all around him, yet he remained unscathed. And the Lord was not in any of the destruction because He’s not in the business of destroying the broken. Not by lightning, not by any other means.
The Bible says that God was in the still small voice. Not the destructive forces, but the restorative one. The still small voice that answered Elijah’s deepest, darkest, secret fears. The one that listened to his brokenness and then reassured him. One by one He answered Elijah’s questions.
He tells Elijah that He will take care of Elijah’s enemies. That He will bring Elijah a partner. He reminds Elijah that he is never alone.
Elijah was so honest with God that he asked God to kill him. He was a broken, weary soul who needed restoration from God. And he got it. And he went on to do more great things for God…but that’s another blog post.
For now, I want you to know that our God is a God of restoration. That He longs for you to come to Him no matter what. No matter how broken or how sad or how discouraged you are. There is never a fear of destruction when you run to your Father. When you sincerely come to Him for help, it will always be available.
Elijah went to a cave hoping to die. He saw God’s incredible power. But what he experienced was grace.