Coming to the end of this week there has been, at least for me, a significant tonal shift. Before Wednesday’s announcement from the Government concerning the ‘rule of six’, I was feeling hopeful that a more ‘normal’ form of life could resume. I was mistaken, and since then I’ve been feeling low. In my depression God spoke to me about a passage that has given me much comfort in the past, and through it I felt Him say ‘don’t hide your sadness from Me, I am here.’
I am often comforted by the honesty found in the Biblical narratives. One such account appears in 1 Kings 19:1-18. I recommend you read the passage in your own time to see what God might say to you. The narrative continues on from Elijah’s great victory on Mount Carmel. Elijah is in conflict with King Ahab, his wife Jezebel, and the prophets of Baal for the people of Israel. As Elijah stands upon the mountain he relies upon God for a great sign, and that sign is sent in the form of fire from heaven. But despite this great victory, the war surprisingly continues. Jezebel, hearing all that had happened, responded by trying to hunt down Elijah once more (1 Kings 19:1). Elijah is clearly taken aback by these threats, possibly because he assumed his work would have ended with the victory at Carmel. Elijah is engulfed in depression to the point he begs God to end his life (1 Kings 19:3-5).
I find God’s response to Elijah very encouraging. God firstly takes care of the basics; Elijah is given food, water, and allowed to sleep (1 Kings 19:5-6). Here we must learn from God’s approach and do the same; take care of our bodies. Depression, anxiety and fear can place huge, often unseen, physical demands upon us and if we lose control of the basics then life inevitably gets worse for us. Secondly, God brings Elijah on a journey to a mountain. Here God displays before Elijah His power, first in a wind, then in an earthquake, and last of all in a fire. But God isn’t in any of these elements. No. God, with all the loving care and intimacy of a Father whispers gently to Elijah. This series of events achieves two things; (1) God demonstrates His power that is available to Him, and that Elijah is safe in His care, and (2) that Elijah needn’t be afraid of coming to God.
However we find ourselves this morning, please know that God finds us too. He is with us and He wants us to come to Him once again. He longs to whisper words of comfort this morning to His people to help us to understand that we rest safely in His powerful hands.