“‘I have left in Israel seven thousand, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth that hath not kissed him.’” 1 Kings 19:18
Elijah the Prophet was a wanted man. The king and queen of Israel–Ahab and Jezebel–were determined to kill him because Elijah had just killed 450 of their prophets of the false god Baal. Elijah was on the run, and he had nowhere to go. So, he fled into the wilderness and prayed to die. “I’ve had enough, Lord,” Elijah said, “take my life, for I am no better than my fathers,” (1 Kings 19:4). In his despair, Elijah believed he had reached the end of his rope, and he did not see a way out of this situation.
Then God spoke to Elijah. He asked Elijah what he was doing here, out in the wilderness, sulking by himself. Elijah told God it was because he was all alone and that people were hunting him to kill him, and that that they were hunting him because of his faithfulness and commitment to God.
Elijah was allowing his situation to warp his perception of the world. He was so focused on his problem that he allowed his problem to become bigger than the God that he served. Though Elijah had been devoted and faithful to God, he didn’t foresee a way in which God could get him out of this.
God reminded Elijah that he was in control of this situation, and he told Elijah that he wasn’t alone. There were still 7,000 others left in Israel who hadn’t submitted to worshipping Baal. Elijah had a great many to whom he could go to in his moment of need. Despite what Elijah was thinking and feeling, God was still very much in control, and He was even bigger and more powerful than Elijah’s situation. More importantly, God was still with Elijah, just as He had always been.
How often do we become overwhelmed and overburdened by the trials and ordeals we go through in our lives, and like Elijah, we allow these ordeals to become larger—in our minds—than God. We try to think of every possible solution to our problem except allowing God to resolve it for us in His time. Just like Elijah, we allow our situation to make us feel entirely alone, completely isolated, even though we have Christian brothers and sisters all around us who would surely help us if only they knew what we were going through. We feel alone, despite the fact that Christ promised: “I am with you always, even unto the end of the age,” (Matthew 28:20). Jesus promised to be with us until the end of time, and yet we still feel alone and want to give up when we have a trial? What does that say of our view of God? What does that say about our view of Christ? Shame on us.
God created the world in six days. He made barren women conceive so that He could fulfill promises He made. He parted the Red Sea to free His people from slavery. He fed his people in the wilderness every day for forty years. He helped a shepherd boy slay a giant and rule a nation. He returned His people from exile. He made a virgin conceive. He turned water into wine. He walked on water. He healed the lame, the blind, lepers, and the sick. He cast out demons. He fed crowds of 5,000 and 4,000. He raised the dead. He died and raised Himself from the dead to save His people from sin. He promised to be with you and to never forsake you, ever.
Don’t put God in a box. Don’t make the mistake of thinking your trial is too big for God to handle. The God that created the world and raises the dead can handle what you’re going through. You’re not alone.
artwork: “The Prophet Elijah,” Daniele da Volterra, c. 1550-1560.