Our Bible study group spent a few months last year studying the life of Elijah, the Prophet. His story can be found in 1 Kings 17-19. We see him encountering all kinds of situations and emotions. He suffered with anxiety, despair, unbelief, weakness, loneliness, fear, and more. I think we can all find some way to relate to Elijah and his emotions.
During one part of his story, he learns that Jezebel is coming after him to kill him. So, he goes out in to the wilderness and sits under a broom tree to die. God sends an angel to provide food and water giving him strength to continue his journey. A journey that would take 40 days and 40 nights. Then, we find Elijah in a cave.
I encourage you to read his story and see if you can relate to his emotional highs and lows in any way. God met him in every place and in every emotion in ways that only God can. I found myself relating to Elijah, especially when he was in the cave, and the word of the Lord came to him asking, “What are you doing here?” ( 1Kings 19:9) I share with you what overflowed from my heart on to the pages of my journal.
I sat down in the wilderness; exhausted and hungry. I’ve been here so long. When will this season end, Lord. So much heartache and pain; sorrow and sadness; confusion and chaos. I know you are here Lord, but I feel so alone.
At just the right time, God came to nourish and strengthen my weary soul. He provided enough to give me what I needed for the rest of the journey. So I got up and headed out. The road continued to be treacherous at times, but I kept going. I was cautious, but hopeful. I had plenty of time to think and talk to the Lord.
But, then I found myself trying to hide in a cave from everything that was happening. The darkness of the cave surrounded me. My thoughts consumed me. Anxiety, disappointment, frustration, and more. The thoughts were all so loud and was so dark. I can’t see you anymore, Lord. I can’t hear you. The opening of the cave is blocked and no light is able to get in. I’m overwhelmed and afraid.
Then, I hear a voice saying, “What are you doing here?” I reply, “ I came into this cave to hide, to escape what is happening all around me, but now the darkness surrounds me and I can’t see. I can’t find my way out. So much is blocking the way!”
I heard the voice again, whispering to me and saying, “It’s time to go. You can’t stay here. You must go back out into the wilderness again. I will nourish you and strengthen you to make this journey. I will be with you, but you must leave all that you brought with you behind. It’s too much for you to carry. Give it to me and trust me.” I reply, “ I don’t know if I can leave it here. It’s been with me so long. It is so heavy. I don’t want to carry it any more, but I just don’t know how to leave it, Lord!”
Once again I hear a whisper calling out to me, “Trust me with all of it. Leaving it behind will be healing and refreshing to your soul. It won’t be easy but trust me.” So, I gather it all up in a pile. All the struggles, all the anxiety, frustration, disappointments; all the things that have been weighing me down and I walk toward the opening of the cave. There is a light that begins to pierce through the darkness. Little by little I can see more light. I feel the warmth and the healing the light brings. I take a step, closer to the light, leaving the darkness behind.
Oh Lord, help me to stay in step with you as we head back into the wilderness. Continue to nourish my soul and strengthen my bones every step of the way. Don’t let Your light leave me. Keep the darkness away. Thank you for finding me and leading me out of the cave.
I pray that wherever you find yourself in life, remember God sees you. He knows where you are and He will meet you there with all that you need and more. Let His light and love pierce the dark places in your life and bring forth healing and refreshment for your soul.
Your fellow sojourner, Jennifer Thomas