By Bruce Green
Elijah’s time under the broom tree and on the road were both important components of his renewal. Nonetheless, when he arrived at Horeb, he was still struggling. He spent the night in a cave on the mountain. There God asked him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
Spiritual renewal is often a search for answers we think we are missing. We’re convinced if we can just find them, everything will be okay. But we can short-circuit the process if we don’t pause to make sure we’re asking the right questions. There’s power and perspective in such an approach. Think about how many times Jesus answered a question with a question or asked a question to clarify a situation.
While God spoke to Elijah in the present tense, all the prophet could do was speak in the past tense. He was stuck in his flawed, inadequate perception of the past and consequently, of God. God sought to knock him off his position with a powerful wind, an earthquake and fire. He then spoke in a gentle whisper, again asking, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
But Elijah didn’t hear.
God told him to go back and gave him work to do. He then shattered his false perception in regard to the number of people still following Him—it was 7,000 times larger than Elijah had thought! And just as with Elijah, it was by God’s power they had been sustained. The situation was not as bleak as the prophet had supposed because God’s power was much greater than he had imagined.
Stirred by this vision of God, he completed the work given to him and then went off to be with the Lord f-o-r-e-v-e-r.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
Bruce has written a two-volume work on the prophets called Known Intimately Loved Ultimately. They are available through 21st Century Christian.