Probably the most famous and dramatic of Israel’s prophets was the great Elijah. Some of the highlights of his amazing ministry are captured in 1 Kings 17-19.
One of the striking things about Elijah’s prophetic ministry is that it’s expressed in huge and very sweeping events such as the prediction of the beginning and end of the three year drought as well as his dramatic encounter with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:16-40).
However, for some it’s the very personal miracle of Elijah and the widow at Zarephath in 1 Kings 17:7-24 that also reveals the uniqueness of Elijah’s ministry. In that particular story Elijah is cared for by a widow and her son who are on the verge of death because of the drought and when asked to feed Elijah their last bit of flour and oil, they quietly obeyed and God fulfilled His promise that “the jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain in the land.” (1 Kings 17:14)
What seems to come through these juxtaposed stories is that moments of significance and even great breakthrough are not the norm of every day living. Rather, they are often the result of many days or even months of waiting on the Lord in relative obscurity and quiet until His timing is complete.
In many conversations that I have with friends who are walking by faith, in their honest moments they’ll share that they are in a time of “waiting on the Lord,” and that they are feeling somewhat isolated and even forgotten. (If we’re honest with ourselves, there’s not one of us who are exempt from such feelings. We may be in a “holding pattern” where we’re seeking to commune with God on a daily basis, but answers to prayer concerning significant issues related to loved ones, our mission or ministry in life or even our own needs seem to go without any clear direction or answer.
The encouragement that I drew from reading these few chapters of Elijah’s life came when I was reminded of his encounter with the Lord where, following a time of loneliness and even depression caused by the threats of Jezebel, Elijah went out to hear the Lord and nothing seemed to happen. The Lord was not speaking in the earthquake that tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks, nor in the wind that roared through the land, nor in the fire that followed the earthquake. No, the Lord was not speaking through any of these but rather through the “gentle whisper” after all of the dramatic events subsided.
I wonder if we approached our “quiet times” with the anticipation that the Lord desired to speak to us in those moments as much as or even more than He might in moments of great power, we may all see these times of “waiting” as being life-giving rather than long delays in our journey of faith.
In the end, it was Elijah’s close personal relationship with God that helped him carry the day and prevail over the elements, the false prophets and the wicked rulers because God was with him and he knew it.
Dear friend, God is with you, even though it may not feel like it and circumstances may not seem to reveal it. His promise is His word and His assurance is the presence of His Holy Spirit in your life.
With these two realities as a daily experience that we can share intimately with God we would all be much more likely to live joyfully and peacefully knowing that God is at work even though we may not be permitted to see just how things will take place.
Remember to keep sowing seeds of faith during those more quiet times. God is at work and He will reward your faithfulness just as He did Elijah the prophet.
P.S. We’ll continue on the topic of healing in the next post later this week.