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But we’ve sanitized this story a lot in modern Christianity.
This whole notion of a “still, small voice” is usually taken out of context and, while it makes for a touching sentiment, told in such a way that removes the impact of that moment.
If you remember, Elijah wasn’t just hanging out, waiting peacefully for a word from heaven.
He was running for his life.
He had just slaughtered the prophets of Baal, the false god ascribed to by two of the cruelest, craziest characters in history—King Ahab and Queen Jezebel.
Queen Jezebel didn’t earn her storied reputation by happenstance. She was cruel and she was after Elijah. She had every intention of avenging the lives of her slaughtered prophets.
1Kings 19:3 says, “Elijah was afraid and ran for his life.”
Keep reading. Elijah may be a lot more like you than you realize.
Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” (1Kings 19:3–4)
Have you ever been there? Have you ever just had enough?
Have you ever wondered what is the point of your life and your voice in the first place?
When we look around, so often all we see is failure and fear and insurmountable odds. Elijah had just angered the most powerful and evil woman in the world. She had endless resources and countless ways to end his life.
Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. (1Kings 19:5–8)
Looking back at your life, can you think of times when God supplied you with sustenance? When a meal was waiting or a check arrived in the mail? What about when a smile came your way at just the right time?
We serve a God of heavenly heights who crafted this physical world we live in. He knows when we’re hungry and thirsty. He knows when we can’t walk another step. He is as corporeal a God as He is spiritual. And He loves to provide spiritually and physically for His children.
As you think about peeling back the layers of your life and uncovering your true purpose, your true voice, it may seem overwhelming to you. There may be too much pain to work through. Maybe there’s just too much damage.
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I’m not going to tell you that it’s in your head, nor am I ever going to dismiss someone’s pain or history as unimportant or fabricated. What I am going to suggest is that God knows exactly where you are and the condition that you are in. He knows what you need to complete the journey. And He does provide.