By Shan Wood
Have you ever been overwhelmed? Have you ever been exhausted? Have you ever looked around and asked, “God, where are you?”
In 1 Kings 19, the Prophet Elijah has been faithful and unrelenting in his service to God, proclaiming God’s message and doing what God had asked him to do. His reward for his effort?
He's running for his life from a wicked King and Queen -- Ahab and Jezebel (Give them a google search and see how bad they were!).
Discouraged, alone, and on the run, Elijah tells God, “I’ve done what You’ve asked, but the people have not only ignored me, now they have also torn down the places of worship and killed Your messengers. I’m the only one left, and now they’re trying to kill me.”
Elijah was overwhelmed. He had nothing left to give and believed nothing good would come of God’s plan. God sent him to a cave in the side of a mountain and told him to wait because He, the Lord, was going to pass by. Listen to what happens next…
“A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind there was an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake; and after the earthquake came a fire, but God wasn’t in the fire; and after the fire came a gentle and quiet whisper. When Elijah heard the quiet voice, he muffled his face with his great cloak, went to the mouth of the cave, and stood there. A quiet voice asked, ‘So Elijah, now tell me, what are you doing here?’” 1 Kings 19:12-14 MSG
People tend to think that everything about God is big and powerful and loud and over-the-top. But God shows up when He isn’t expected and in ways people never expect. He also speaks through the most unlikely people in places that some might think are questionable.
It’s in those small, unexpected ways that God helps us to be closer to Him and re-energizes us for what lies ahead. If He were always showing Himself to be powerful and wonderful, we who are normal, and not wonderful, would feel like we don’t “measure up” and God would never want to have anything to do with us. But here is the good news... Not only does God want everything to do with us, He’s also always acting on our behalf in the most powerful ways.
He cares about the little things. He cares about the things we care about and understands the things that wear us out, worry us, and discourage us. Like the caring Father He is, He reminds us we’re not alone in the most unexpected ways. He’s in control and He’s never surprised by evil.
This past Sunday Trey said that people who know God need to “wear out the worn-out in prayer”. That means when we’re so tired and have nothing left, we can still pray. And while it may not seem like much, in those quiet moments of prayer is often where we hear from God. And it’s in prayer that our strength is restored and we find reasons to be grateful; even reasons to sing.
Psalm 42:1-5; 43:3-5
“As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him? Day and night I have only tears for food, while my enemies continually taunt me, saying, ‘Where is this God of yours?’
My heart is breaking as I remember how it used to be: I walked among the crowds of worshipers, leading a great procession to the house of God; singing for joy and giving thanks amid the sound of a great celebration!
Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again, my Savior and my God!
Send out your light and your truth; let them guide me. Let them lead me to your holy mountain, to the place where you live There I will go to the altar of God, to God—the source of all my joy.
I will praise you with my harp, O God, my God! Why am I discouraged? Why is my heart so sad? I will put my hope in God! I will praise him again, my Savior and my God!”