1 Kings 19:9 (KJV)
“And he came thither unto a cave, and lodged there; and, behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said unto him, What doest thou here, Elijah?”
This story is most instructive and encouraging. It is the story of Elijah in a very low moment in his life. According to the story, Elijah was threatened by Jezebel even though God had intervened in a miraculous way. There appeared to have been no immediate revival in the land. I am sure that Elijah had wished for more and seemingly had received less. It seems as though Elijah felt that God’s primary way of reaching His people was by a great display of power. Elijah became so discouraged because things he thought would change and should change had not changed.
In verse 5 it says that Elijah slept under a Juniper tree. It is interesting what he said because he requested that he should die. I think to myself, “Why would this ever be written in this narrative?” That begs the question, is God endeavouring to show us something? This moment of depression occurred in a wilderness an out of the way place in which he could not take counsel from anyone. In that place of isolation, depression set in. We are told that the angel of the Lord came to him and gave him something to eat. God is so practical in encouraging us. Elijah needed food, rest, water. God took care of all of those things. I would like to assure you that the eyes of the Lord are upon you. He comes and reassures us in our lowest moments and He reminds us that no matter what state we are in, He has a plan and a purpose for our life. It is clear in this narrative that Elijah did not respond to the angel of the Lord. It is also clear that the angel of the Lord did not expect a response. God had miraculously cared for Elijah before. One event was a raven that brought food. Another event was a widow woman who ran out of food. The strength of what Elijah ate carried him, according to the scripture, forty days and forty nights.
Elijah is still running, but wanting to connect with God in some way. I am reminded that even when we are walking in pain or in misery, God is with us. Verse 9 says the word of the Lord came to him. God was getting him ready for something. He asked Elijah a question, “What are you doing here?” Elijah then endeavours to explain to God his righteous reasons for being discouraged. It appears as though Elijah thought he was all alone. God ignores Elijah’s self justification and moves beyond his faulty thinking. A great wind comes, but God is not in it. After the wind, an earthquake comes, but God is not in it. It is clear here that God intends to shake him up. God does not always operate in the spectacular. We hear that God speaks in a still small voice. That still small voice repeats what was asked. “What are you doing here?” It is important for us to hear God’s voice because that is the point of where restoration begins. What tumbles out is the truth of why Elijah is depressed. He thinks he is the only one left and he further strengthens his weakness by saying that they wish to take my life away. It is clear that Elijah is struggling with bitterness and rejection. Yet God is so good that He does not dismiss him, but recommissions him and sends him with a message and a mission.
It is my belief that God has good things in store for us. I also believe that at times we have our moments of weakness. Furthermore, I believe that God is greater than all our times of weakness and ultimately has a plan for our life that gets us back on track. If you have felt the need for encouragement, let me say to you that He is there, that He loves you, He has not given up on you, and He will get you back up.