You know that feeling where your heart is about to explode in your chest, but in a good way? Where everything seems to align and you are clearly in the favor of God and man; then something happens and you begin to question it? One minute you’re unstoppable and the next moment you find yourself punking out. That’s exactly how I felt this week when the things I have prayed for were coming out of someone else’s mouth. It was an incredible moment. I was so confident of what was happening and certain it was right, and yet mere hours later I was questioning it. It’s what I have deemed my Elijah moment.
In 1 Kings 18:16-40, Elijah challenges 450 prophets of a false god, Baal, to a face off against himself and the Lord. He tells them to prepare a sacrifice to Baal as he would to the Lord, but not set it on fire. To top it all off, he throws out the following challenge.
1Kings18:24 “24Then you call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the LORD. The god who answers by fire – he is God.”
After an entire day of calling on Baal nothing happens and it’s Elijah’s turn. He rebuilds an alter for God, but in addition to everything else he asks the people to pour water over it–a lot of water. He then prays boldly, and confidently, and God answers.
1Kings18:36-38 “36At the time of sacrifice, the prophet Elijah stepped forward and prayed: “O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. 37Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.” 38Then the fire of the LORD fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.”
You would think after this amazing moment nothing could shake Elijah, but just a few verses later in 1:1 Kings 19:1, Queen Jezebel threatens to kill him and his response is to run!
1 Kings 19:3 3Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. […]4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die.”
The same day that Elijah saw God move, he turned around and ran like a punk. I love this scripture! I have these punk moments too; we all do. A contradicting conversation or a change of events, something not going exactly how I pictured it and then all of a sudden I let fear send me running…and questioning God.
I walked out of a job interview feeling on top of the world, but when the offer letter came a few hours later and they offered less then expected I began to doubt all of it. As I pushed back on the offer I found myself questioning the entire thing. Will they really call me back? Should I have just gone with the first offer? Maybe this is my way out because there is something better? All of these questions swirled in my mind, but at the end of it I had to acknowledge all the ways God had worked up to that point, which includes too many details to recount here.
As for Elijah, the best part comes next. Although I love that even a great prophet of God can have punk moments, above all I love how the Bible reveals God’s character through all of this. God’s response to Elijah was not to punish him or to turn away from him, but to comfort him. In 1Kings19:5-9 God sends an angel to take care of Elijah’s most basic needs and to get him ready for what was to come–Him.
1 Kings 19:11-13 “11The 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. 12After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.”
Ultimately, God spoke to Elijah and told him what His plan was for him and for those who He would send Elijah to (1Kings19:15-18). Sometimes amazing things happen, but I can allow the less than ideal circumstances and bad moments to distract me. I am called to trust that God is always working, even in my fearful moments and that He will answer when the time is right. I love when He does answer. I need to pay attention because He will probably not shout, but will whisper in my ear. Have you had those punk moments? What were they for you? Isn’t intimately comforting to know God is still at work. He will make everything clear in His time.
Zech4:6 “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.”