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 19:14 NIV)
It should have been the start of something new. It felt like the reinforcement of the status quo. The victory that Elijah experienced against the prophets of Baal only incited Jezebel to put a death sentence over him.
The way that has a crushing effect on Elijah is so telling. It speaks of the man of God seriously feeling alone and defeated, downcast and depressed. For all the zeal he displayed it appeared to make little difference if any at all. From his perspective he felt a failure. Reading this makes it easier to understand how circumstances can impact even the most committed of followers.
It also says something about his relationship with God that he can pour out his feelings to God. It says something about God’s relationship with Elijah that He strengthens him for the journey ahead for a close encounter of the divine kind. It’s at this juncture that God opens Elijah to consider the bigger picture. A picture of His sovereign rule in the affairs of man. A picture where Elijah is no failure, but can still be used by God to carry out the tasks that must be completed before he is relieved of his duties. It’s from that perspective that Elijah’s mission is renewed. It’s from that perspective that his work can go on. It’s from that perspective that he can realise that the immediate circumstances do not determine the final outcome.
Honesty with God from our perspective can be the platform for us to receive honesty from God from His perspective. If we open ourselves to that exchange it can be the propulsion we need to carry on the mission God calls us.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden