Read: 1 Kings 19:1-18
“It is enough! Now, Lord, take my life, for I am no better than my fathers!” (1 Kings 19:4). Elijah lay down, utterly exhausted. The thrilling Mt. Carmel victory over Baal’s prophets seemed a distant memory. He’d been so sure that a spectacular demonstration of God’s power would turn Israel back to God. So sure that he could succeed where the prophets before him had failed. But Baal’s humiliation only hardened Jezebel’s heart, and Ahab’s with her. Instead of surrendering to God, they swore vengeance.
This tempestuous reaction flung Elijah into a violent disturbance of disappointment, crushing him beneath relentless winds of failure. His zealous efforts for God had all been in vain. A hunted man standing alone, he was no better than his forebears, after all. Death seemed the only remaining option.
And so he ran until his strength gave out. But still the storm raged within. Finally God demonstrated that He wasn’t in the storm, earthquake or fire that threatened to engulf the prophet’s soul. God spoke, and His still, small voice restored Elijah’s peace and sense of purpose.
For years, I wondered about what I considered Elijah’s moody tendencies. What could have made him fall apart the way he did, especially after such a mountain top experience? Then, I experienced some crushing disappointments of my own; disappointments which followed amazing accomplishments. Tossed about in the waves of erratic and often inexplicable behavior, I began to see the light in this human mystery.
I had a good understanding of how dangerous and terrifying storms of nature can be. But I had never grasped the threat in a storm of the soul. Descending suddenly and intensely, soul storms can do the greatest damage of all – blindsiding us into flights of panic, which most often tend to be in a direction away from God.
Jesus told us to expect storms around us, but He promised us peace in their midst, as we keep our focus on Him. The moment our gaze shifts, the storms begin to make their way in, ripping apart everything in their way. It was just such a shift in focus that caused Peter to sink.
No matter how wild the storm, or how insurmountable the odds appear to be, take this Old Testament counsel with you this week and always – ‘stand still and see God’s salvation’ (Exodus 14:13 and 2 Chronicles 20:17); you’ll be glad you did.