More and more, we see, hear or deal with believers who are single-minded while their commitment to God is stained with this trait of character. My brother, my sister, there is nothing new under the sun. The Bible provides us with an example of a single-minded person who was nevertheless committed to and powerfully used by God: Elijah. And, as we read about Elijah’s commitment to God, we can be either shocked or challenged because this prophet was sent to confront people, spoke God’s word, but he was the same who chose to carry out his ministry for God alone. And of course he paid the price of that decision by experiencing isolation from others who were also faithful to God.
Isn’t it interesting to think that, despite his single-minded commitment, God still accomplished amazing miracles through Elijah? Now, look at this: God used Elijah to defeat the prophets of Baal, but when queen Jezebel retaliated by threatening his life, then the consequences of his decision became visible: Elijah was forced to run away because he was afraid, depressed and felt abandoned, and he wanted to die (1 Kings 19:3-4). Why would he feel so? Because he was walking alone and he had no one around who could help him. And, despite God’s provision of food and shelter in the wilderness (1 Kings 19:5). Why? Because Elijah had decided to do things in his own way, not according to God’s way… God’s way includes (and certainly not excludes) the others! That is why, to bring Elijah in his way of doing things, God first gave him a message that he needed to hear, through a gentle whisper, after Elijah had seen a windstorm, an earthquake and a fire… in other words, powerful manifestations in which He was not anyway (1 Kings 19:11-13).
Sometimes, we too are like Elijah, expecting God’s manifestations through windstorm, earthquakes or fire and we do struggle because of mixed feelings. Yet, God did not send His angel to pat Elijah’s shoulder. Instead, God actually confronted Elijah’s emotions and commanded action (1 Kings 19:7-8), because Elijah was so much in his own thinking, he also thought he was the only faithful left in the whole place, the only one who could really do the job well: “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 19:10)… This is what happens when we are locked up in our thinking, isn’t it? We cannot know what is happening elsewhere! Therefore, to correct the ignorance of Elijah, God informed him that seven thousand others in Israel were still faithful to Him and he would preserve them (1 Kings 19:18).
So, what are the lessons we could get from Elijah today? The first lesson is to always keep in mind that God often speaks through the gentle and obvious rather than the spectacular and unusual manifestations that we expect to see, to suit our emotions. The second lesson to learn here is that, God has work for us to do even when we feel fear and failure… and He is willing to provide more resources and people for this work than we know about. Nowadays, many believers want to be the ones through whom God does amazing miracles, so like Elijah, they also tend to try and walk alone, ignoring the fact that God can put people in front of them to help them. Indeed, God could still use them, as it was the case with Elijah… yet, Elijah ended up running and hiding. My friends, although we might wish to do amazing miracles for God, we should instead focus on developing an intimate relationship with him. The real miracle of Elijah’s life was his very personal relationship with God. And that miracle is available to us all through Jesus. Stay blessed in Jesus’ name.