What do you do when the hard times come? The really hard times. The ones that leave you so scared you can’t catch your breath. When the what-ifs are screaming so loudly all you can see and hear is your desperate situation. Do you wonder where God is? How do you keep going when it just seems hopeless?
I read this the other day in 1 Kings 19:4–“I’ve had enough, LORD…Take my life.”
Wow! I didn’t expect to hear those words from Elijah. I mean, this was the strong, faithful man of God who just stood up against all those prophets of Baal and showed them who the real God was, with water and wet wood and calling down the Lord’s consuming fire. God had just used him in a mighty way. Yet now he cries out for God to end his life?
Okay, so he was in a tough place. (You can read all about it in 1 Kings 18-19.) Queen Jezebel, consumed with rage, was out to have him killed. So he ran…ran for his life…out of fear. But, fear? Elijah? What happened? Where did his courage go? Where was his faith? His trust in the Lord?
Truth is, I’ve faced some hard times myself. I’ve known that gnawing feeling in the pit of my stomach and wrapped my arms around my ribs, thinking it would somehow hold me together. Felt the tears well up and threaten to pour down my cheeks at any moment…barely able to breathe because the fear was choking me. And I’ve wondered if life would ever be good again.
Where was my faith? My trust in the Lord? I’m no Elijah…but I sure can relate.
In those moments, all I wanted was relief. And I couldn’t see it. Is this what it was like for Elijah? Is this what it is like for you when those frightening times come?
What do we do with it? This fear…this desperation…this near panic?
At first glance, it looks like Elijah crawls up into a fetal position under that broom tree and tells God, that’s it…he’s done…enough already. We see a man running away—yes. But looking closer, we realize he’s running away from danger and running toward God. Alone Elijah runs into the desert and cries out to the Lord, for He desperately needs Him.
I’ve felt that way, too. Alone. Scared. Desperately needing God—needing His presence with me. Can you say the same? But here’s the thing–what we see and feel in those moments of fear is not real. For we are never really alone…not any of us. God’s powerful presence is always there…in those moments…in that darkness.
So why can’t we see Him? Why don’t we feel He’s there? Because we are too focused on the trouble surrounding us. We can only focus on one thing at a time. And everything else becomes a bit blurry. Even God. Especially God.
When you can’t see God, change your focus.
He’s there. Oh boy, is He there! He never leaves our side. He watches over us, provides for us, leads us—all the way to where we can finally see Him.
God sent angels to tend to Elijah’s needs and keep him moving on his journey. And so he was able to keep running—forty days and forty nights. All the way to the mountain of God. And there Elijah finally found Him.
Not in the great wind, not in the earthquake, not in the fire…not in the fear, not in the worry, not in the desperation. But after all those things…in the quiet stillness. Then Elijah heard it–that gentle whisper. That still, small voice. The Lord God Almighty—the all-powerful God. He revealed Himself in the quiet.
“Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10)
Oh, how we need to remember this verse! And that’s the key, isn’t it? Being still when the storm is raging? Remembering His promise to never leave us or forsake us? Trusting in His unfailing love and faithfulness? God sees. God knows. God is there. And He’s got this—whatever this is. So the next time you feel like running away, run right into the arms of our loving Father, who is always with us. Be still and focus on His powerful presence, trusting Him. And I will, too. He is God Almighty, and He’s got this!Heavenly Father, thank You for Your constant presence. Thank You for watching over us and providing for us. And thank You for answering our cries—even when we want to give up. You never give up on us. You just draw us right back into Your loving arms—right where we belong. Help us to be still and trust in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
All Scripture from The Holy Bible, New International Version, 1984. Images by Sabra Penley.