Finding God when we feel alone

 Written by Pastor TJ Turner

“The word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too…” 1 Kings 19:9-10

 

Have you ever had déjà vu, the feeling that you been somewhere, or done something before? Maybe you were in a new place, somewhere you know you had never been before, but it felt familiar, like you knew what would happen next. The reality is, we don’t always recognize it, but we live with déjà vu all too often. We often experience the same struggles, the same arguments with our spouses, the same problems at work, the same injustices in the world, over and over. We can sometimes look at our lives and feel like we’re caught in a loop where nothing really changes; we just move from one form of the struggle to the next.

If that sounds familiar to you, you’re not alone. In 1st Kings we read about one of the most faithful prophets in the Old Testament, Elijah. Elijah was faithful to God. He trusted God’s plan and believed that God would use him to change things, to make the world a better place, to bring people back to him. But before long, Elijah found himself with déjà vu, seeing the same problems he spent his life fighting come back again and again, like he was stuck in a loop. In a moment of very real and understandable despair, Elijah went to the mountain of God, the same place that Moses and David had come looking for God. He cried out to God with all his frustration, exclaiming that, despite his faithfulness to God’s work, nothing seemed to change. In fact, it seemed to get worse. Elijah simply didn’t see any evidence that God was at work, and evidence God was present in his life. Maybe you know how that feels. Maybe day after day seems the same. Your daily frustrations hopefully don’t include a mob that wants to kill you, but no matter what your struggles are, if we can’t see God at work in them, we won’t find the hope we need. The good news is, God was not silent in the face of Elijah’s doubts.

“The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper…”   1 Kings 19:9-10

The truth was, God was there all along, working for Elijah and his people. In fact, God went on to explain that Elijah wasn’t alone at all; there were 7,000 others following God, working for his will. The problem was that Elijah didn’t see it. That’s often our problem too. The truth is that, there is always evidence of God’s presence and work in our lives. To hear it, we just have to follow Elijah’s example. We have to stop and listen. Because most of the time, God doesn’t shout from the mountaintop or appear to us like an earthquake. Most of the time, he comes as a gentle whisper, promising that he’s there, that he’s working, that hope is real.

So, stop and listen. Listen for the voice of God in your lives and, when you hear Him, take time to celebrate the good news that you’re not alone, that the cycle won’t last forever. The God who is with us is coming again.

 

*This article first appeared in the May, 2018 WRCC Newsletter