Adversity and discouragement are a way of life for some. Prosperity and happiness come to others. Most of humanity lie somewhere in between. Many of us experience discouragement and happiness at times. The business of life focuses on our daily provisions: food, shelter, and health, so we can enjoy some happiness.
Where does God fit into our formula for contentment? Do we even consider him? Only he can give the real peace that passes understanding.
Elijah, the prophet, experienced many of these characteristics mentioned above. His first appearance recorded in the Bible was to give an announcement to King Ahab. There would be no rain nor dew for three years.
I’m sure Ahab thought Elijah was a nut. But after a while, with no rain, they started to wonder. In the meantime, Elijah went to pray. Not a random prayer, but an earnest one. It didn’t rain for 3 1/2 years until the prophet prayed for rain (James 5:17, 18).
Later, after many other mountaintop experiences, the prophet became discouraged. Finally, he decided to withdraw from society because an ungodly woman threatened him, so he ran.
Elijah asked God to take his life ( I Kings 19:4). God didn’t! Instead, God gave him food. Then Elijah replenished with strength, traveled 40 days to Horeb. The distance was some 250 miles over rugged terrain. Horeb is also known as Mount Sinai, the same mountain where Moses received the Ten Commandments. It is here, the Lord spoke once again. This time, he asked, “What are you doing here, Elijah” (I Kings 19:9)?
Imagine the God of gods is now talking to you. How would you respond?
Elijah rehearsed his past deeds for God. So now God gives him a simple instruction. “Go stand on the mountain before you” (I Kings 19:11). Then God shows the discouraged prophet a fierce wind, strong enough to break rocks. Then, there was an earthquake. And, it was followed by a fire. But, the Lord wasn’t in them.
Now, God spoke to his heart, and Elijah heard the Lord speak. The man of God stood determined not to change. Again, God asked, “What are you doing here ” (I Kings 19:13)? Once again, Elijah rehearsed the past. Finally, God seemed to say, OK, your powerful ministry is complete. I want you to go and do three things; anoint Hazel, King of Syria, Jehu, King of Israel, and Elisha to take your place.
What is the Lord saying to you? Is he giving you another chance to serve him? Have you decided to quit? The choice is always yours.