More is at stake than your personal victory. Conflict is the main ingredient in God’s character development program.
~Erwin W. Lutzer (1941- )
Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, “So may the gods do to me and more also, if I do not make your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.” Then he was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life and came to Beersheba, which belongs to Judah, and left his servant there. But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, “It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.” And he lay down and slept under a broom tree. And behold, an angel touched him and said to him, “Arise and eat.” And he looked, and behold, there was at his head a cake baked on hot stones and a jar of water. And he ate and drank and lay down again. And the angel of the Lord came again a second time and touched him and said, “Arise and eat, for the journey is too great for you.” And he arose and ate and drank, and went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mount of God.
~ 1 Kings 19:1-8
Oh beloved, those of us who have walked with Him for a while know this dynamic to be true: On the back end of a great victory in our walk with Him, is the greatest chance for spiritual defeat.
The story above is a picture of what is true in all of our lives. Elijah had just come off a rout of hundreds of baal worshippers. He had shown clearly that G_d is the One who Was and Is and Is to come – and that He alone is the One true G_d.
And the next moment he was afraid, and running for his life.
Oh we can do it. This writer feels that dynamic course through his being sometimes. A day before spent as a true oracle for Him, can be followed by a day where i feel like my needs are not getting met, and i need to start looking to my own ways to meet those needs. Eyes and thoughts can wander, or the spending increases, or the anxiety of not getting my own way pops up. Wow, i am a weakling.
However, in the same way that this passage presents the problem – it also presents the answer.
Can we see it? When we have gotten off into the wilderness on our own, the best response is to simply cry out to Him – even in wretched desperation – and then to lie down and wait for a rescue.
For, there is an even deeper truth in the problem of evil in our lives. He brings beauty and glory to Himself in both our victories and defeats. Keep reading the passage and one finds that He is prepping Elijah for an epic experience that literally tears rocks apart and takes Elijah into the near Presence of his Creator wherein Elijah could hear Him even though the voice was but a tiny whisper.
So, hopefully the message is clear for all of us. Regardless of whether we are stuck in some post-victory melancholy, or just plain stuck – the best course of action is to stop and call out to the only One that can truly save us. Because, in our calling out, we know of course that He will indeed come to our rescue!
Wonder what kind of cake that was! Makes this writer think of the The Bread of Life!