Read: 1 Kings 19:1-18
They're really fun to discuss, and almost every family has them. Yes, sometimes the details are exaggerated as the years go on. I'm talking about those family stories that make us laugh every time we repeat them. Even though some become tall tales as the years and generations progress, I have one that I'm certain is true. Why? Because I am the source of the story with its accompanying laughter.
Once upon a time in a house far away there lived a father, stepmother and a young woman, me. On the particular day in question, I heard a noise. No, not a menacing sound. It was a faint almost imperceptible buzzing. It was a fly, and by how quiet it sounded, it was apparent to me that it was dying. But where was it? I had to find it. At this point, the aforementioned father and stepmother thought I was hearing things, but I wasn't deterred. My efforts were rewarded when, under a desk or table--I'm not certain which it was--I finally found the little creature, and it was almost dead. The reason it made everyone laugh is the lengths I went to in order to find the little critter. I listened and bent and listened and bent some more. Trying to find the source of the sound no one else heard.
Often people think that when a person has a deficit, as I do because I am blind, that the other senses are automatically more acute; however, it is simply that when one sense's door is almost closed, a person learns to lean more heavily on the others. So, if you simply can't locate that dying fly, give me a call. 😊
Right now, we have many doors that are closed to us. We have been asked to live our lives very differently than even was the case one week ago. What if we ask the Lord to help us use in a greater way the doors that are still open to us? Let's peek at Elijah's experience to be reminded of suggestions as to how we can do that.
In 1 Kings 19:1-18, Elijah is done in. He is worn out, discouraged and fearful. He has had enough. Usually when we examine this text, we look at it in order to find help for ourselves and others when depression or discouragement are blanketing our lives. A good thing to do. However, for right now, what if we look at this time in the prophet's life to discover tips for dealing with the changes, that for this period of time, are affecting our lives. What can we do? Rather than concentrating on the doors that are at this moment closed to us, instead, we could consider the resources that are still available.
1. Food and Rest
This is not the first time that God fed His prophet. The ravens didn't do the catering this time, as they did in 1 Kings 17. Instead, the Lord used an angel to deliver Elijah's nourishment. The angel urged Elijah to eat twice, and the prophet also rested. I love that the angel acknowledged Elijah's need for food because without it, the up-coming journey would have been too difficult for him. How important it is for us, like Elijah, to remember to eat well and rest. The Lord knows the difficulty of each journey, and He knows that we are but dust, Psalm 103:14. How much more challenging our circumstances are when we don't have the foods that give us the most strength. Wouldn't it be amazing to have the bread that fueled Elijah on his journey to the Mountain of God, 1 Kings 19:8. Talk about power foods! Yet, each of us knows which foods give him strength and how much rest will help to refresh him. God has given these gifts to us for our enjoyment, 1 Timothy 6:17.
2. Correcting our Thinking
When we read Elijah's assessment of his circumstances, most of us can relate to his feelings. He felt alone, like a man who had no one else on whom he could lean. Twice he spoke to the Lord about his own efforts and that no one else shared his zeal. He felt isolated. In His timing, God let the prophet know that what he felt wasn't based on truth. There were 7,000 who had not been unfaithful to the Lord. Nothing like a word from God to turn around his thinking. How important it is for us to hold our thinking up to what the Bible says. We hear so many thoughts and ideas. Some might be true. However, true or false, are they the kind of thoughts that God says should guide our thinking, Philippians 4:8? Like Elijah, we are not alone. Even when we can't come together in groups, our hearts are indwelt by the same Holy Spirit. We can pray for one another wherever we are.
3. Doing Our God-Given Tasks
I love how God gave His prophet specific jobs to do. After having been nourished and guided into better thinking, Elijah was ready to do what God had for him. It was time to, as a friend of mine said, do what each day brought. That's where it is so different now. Many tasks that were part of our days have been put on hold. Even so, we can honor God with anything that presents itself to be done in any given day. The ordinary tasks of a day or the work of a first responder both can bring honor to God. Isn't that encouraging. God's way of looking at us is so different than man's way. God looks at our hearts as we live each day, 1 Samuel 16:7. Colossians 3:23-24 says: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.
4. Listening for God's Voice
What a picture 1 Kings 19 paints of this. Although the Lord could have made His voice heard in any way He chose, in this passage He used the simplicity of a gentle whisper. No flash here. Instead, in the quietness of the day, Elijah heard from the Lord. Perhaps with life's pace slowing for many people, we will more easily turn our ears toward the little nudges that come from the Lord. The opportunities to serve might look very different now, and no person can do everything. Yet, when the Holy Spirit stirs our thinking, what a joy it will be to be like Isaiah who said, ‘Here am I LORD, send me.’ Isaiah 6:8.
Lord, Thank You that You are the God of the details. Help us to do each day what honors You. Please be merciful towards those who are sad, confused or lonely. Thank You for those who are working to help keep us safe. Thank You for all that You will do during these days.