Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus"1 (Lyrics)
1 Kings 19:9 – There he came to a cave, where he spent the night. But the Lord said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" (NLT)
None of us had ever experienced what we were about to.
Eight couples from our church travelled to a cabin in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, USA, for a marriage retreat. My wife and I had stayed in several cabins over the years. Some we enjoyed, while others were misrepresented by the rental agency. Not this one.
Our little convoy turned off the main road and ascended a narrow road until we reached Summit View Lodge — a four-storey cabin nestled on the side of a mountain. Everyone wanted to visit the top level to see the view. For 180 degrees, we saw nothing but mountain range folded upon mountain range. Our only obstructions were trees, smog, and low-hanging clouds.
Elijah had a sight problem as well, but trees, pollution, and clouds had nothing to do with it. He had defeated hundreds of pagan prophets on a mountaintop contest, but the wicked queen wasn't pleased with his efforts. A 24-hour death sentence sent him running. His first stop was a broom tree where he asked God to take his life. Then, he travelled to a cave where, once again, depression overcame him. In the midst of his despair, God helped him to see clearly.
Fear, anxiety, and depression kept Elijah from seeing what God wanted to do in his life, just as clouds and smog kept us from seeing the totality of our mountain view. Adopting Elijah's solution — running — is an easy escape when things aren't going my way or when I can't see which way they are going at all.
Taking advantage of the abundant life that Jesus offers requires a clear view — even when circumstances are against me. This requires several steps which Elijah eventually took.
First, I must believe that God is with me and is concerned. Elijah's running was unnecessary. God could handle a wicked queen. Second, I must ask God to help me to understand the situation fogging my sight. God gave understanding to Elijah in the cave. Third, I must accept my circumstances by faith. I won't always understand what God is doing or why. Finally, I must release despondency to God. Discouragement and depression will only further cloud my vision. Releasing it by faith clears things up.
Regardless of what clouds our view, God can help us to see clearly.
Prayer: Father, when the situations of life keep us from seeing clearly, help us to trust You to clear things up. Amen.