Elijah, some might contend, was not having the greatest of days.
Let’s rewind this just a bit. Israel is at a slightly low point with a series of kings that keep getting progressively worse. Zimri dies by fire in his palace because of the sin he committed (1 Kings 16:19). His successor, Omri, built Samaria and “did evil in the eyes of the Lord and sinned more than all those before him” (16:25). Then we get Ahab who, “did more to provoke the Lord, the God of Israel, to anger than all the kings of Israel before him,” (1 Kings 16:33).
This is the scene Elijah is walking into when the Lord asks him to share a message with Ahab informing him that the Lord is sending a time of no rain or dew—aka, a drought and subsequent famine.
However, we serve a loving God who promises:
It is the Lord who does before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed. Deut 31:8
So, in the Lord’s infinite goodness, He created a place of protection, retreat and restoration for Elijah. The Lord tells him, “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Keith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there” (1 Kings 17:2-4). There Elijah stayed for some time and was able to refresh in a place with 100% provision from the Lord.
It’s beautiful to be in a space of restoration and protection.
But let all who take refuge in you rejoice; let them ever sing for joy, and spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may exult in you. Psalm 5:11
Sometimes it is so beautiful that we just decide to camp there. We become so wrapped up in our healing journey that we forget the higher calling on our lives—the calling of the great commission. The calling to serve others. We become complacent and stagnate.
Then the Lord has to dry up our brook.
What does this even look like? Things that once brought you great peace now may make you feel a little empty. You feel like you have to do more and more to have the same level of peace. You search, but you find that old brook (source of peace and joy) just isn’t providing anymore. Things irritate you a bit. You are antsy. That’s a great sign that you need to ask the Lord, “what’s next?”
For Elijah, it was a two step process. First, the brook dried up. THEN, the Word of the Lord came to him and said, “Go at once,” (1 Kings 17:9).
So, how do we “Go?” How does one move from a place of restoration to a place active service or how does one leave their comfort zone?
The Lord spoke through Paul to lay out a beautiful plan for that transition:
Do not neglect your gift…be diligent in these matters; give yourself wholly to them so that everyone may see your process. Watch your life and doctrine closely. Persevere in them, because if you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers. 1 Tim 4:14-16
Step 1. Do not neglect your gift. You have a purpose here on this Earth.
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. Eph 2:10
I can’t answer what that looks like for you. What I do know is that you have a calling—something unique to you which He has PREPARED you for. Lies tell us we are disqualified for things—that somehow our life decisions or traumas make us less than and our gifts our no longer valid. That is such a lie. There are no asterisks to Ephesians 2:10. What was true at your birth is true today. You are HIS workmanship and there are good works (ie things that serve and bless others) that have your name on them. Go. Go at once.
Step 2. Be diligent in these matters. Give yourself wholly to them so that everyone may see your progress.
Everyone see? What if I fail? In every business class, you study success stories and behind each one you will find a string of previous “failures.” In fact, Milton Hershey (the chocolate guy) has a whole exhibit in his museum entitled “Failures to Fortune.” Often, we lean into the stories of others to help buoy ourselves. I mean, have you not figure out I am slightly obsessed with the Old Testament? It’s because there is story after story of men and women who fall so short of the Glory of the Lord and yet are redeemed and used by the Lord to change the world. I adore it that Paul writes to Timothy to be so public in his growth and service to others that, “everyone may see your progress.” That also means they will see the failures, but as humans, what we all remember and respect the most is when people persevere and move towards the greater plans. Failure is part of growth. Don’t fear it, embrace it so you can be diligent and move forward.
Step 3. Watch your life and doctrine closely. In other words, have a compass.
When you are passionately pursuing things, it becomes easy to cross some boundaries. Success breeds success and without a good compass, it can also lead to pride. False doctrines can blend in and take the great and skew it just a bit (or a lot in some cases). The key to all of this is just to make sure you follow the plan laid out by the Lord—watch your life and doctrine closely.
Why? That’s the huge reward for going. You get to see others saved.
Elijah went. Over and over again. The Lord used him in profound ways—but he too had some detours. (More on that, click here). In the end though, he did not die. Instead, the Lord sent a chariot of fire to the earth and took him directly to heaven in a whirlwind witnessed by others. They all SAW his progress.
May others see yours.
Now, it’s time to GO so in the final words of 2 Tim 4:22
The Lord be with your spirit. Grace be with you.
So, who is going?