In the Quiet
How often do we assume that God is getting impatient with us because that is what we do with others? Even the most patient person can get fed up when someone continues to make the same mistakes over and over. But God never gives up on us. Sometimes He allows us to get our own way so we can see that it is not what is best for us, but He sticks with us through it all. He always loves us.
In the end of 1 Kings 18, we see Elijah full of power and feeling positive, knowing God had answered his prayers in an incredible way. But as we read on into 1 Kings 19, we see him crashing back down to earth. He had expected people to see God’s power as he had. He expected immediate change from King Ahab and Jezebel. They had seen the mind-boggling miracle that God had performed. Hadn’t they? Right in the first verses there, we see Ahab is only relating the horror of losing all of their false prophets to Jezebel. He just blames everything on Elijah and leaves out what happened before. How often do we completely miss God’s miracles because we’re focused on something else? We have absolutely no idea how many times God has saved our lives by making us late, by making us follow some slowpoke on the highway, or by putting something else in our paths. We only can see the bad things that happened.
Elijah’s mountaintop experience becomes a freefall to the valley when Jezebel threatens his life. Suddenly it is very personal, and suddenly Elijah is ready to give up. His reaction is so much like Moses’ when the Israelites continued to complain in the wilderness. Both men were able to see God’s provision and love, but somehow the people couldn’t. They were both throwing in the towel at certain points, and God was extremely patient with both of them. He allows them time to vent to Him as if the people’s offense was against the men themselves and not God. It is easy to forget the purpose of our message. It is easy to get discouraged when people do not seem to be listening. But we must always remember that once we have delivered our message of Good News, the people’s hearts are in God’s hands. We cannot change their minds. We cannot change their hearts. Only God can do this. It’s hard to let go though, right? We want to fix it. We want people to see the truth of what we say. We want people to see the miracles that God is performing even today. Our frustration in the slowness of people’s responses cannot be allowed to seep through. We must be patient. We must remember that God works in His own time, and things that are happening in people’s hearts cannot always be seen by our eyes.
Elijah had seen the awesome power of God with the prophets of Baal. After he fled from Jezebel, God had shown him a great wind, earthquake, and fire in 1 Kings 19:11-12. But God didn’t speak to him through those things. Elijah had to wait for a gentle whisper, then He knew God was there. After that whisper to get his attention, God showed Elijah what He had been doing while the prophet had been complaining about his own issues. God reminded him that he wasn’t alone. While Elijah might have felt abandoned, God was still working and moving His plan forward in His own way and own time. He still had a purpose for Elijah, and He had a plan for others to help him. Remember that God is working even when we might not see it. Listen for the gentle whisper and be ready to go when He says it’s time.