Learning from Elijah
Nov 2, 2017 · Courtney Jacob
It’s no question that there are many bends in the road along each person’s faith journey. All Christians, like you and me, go through seasons when we struggle with doubts and our faith isn’t as strong as we’d like it to be.
In these times, we might ask: “Where is God?” “How can I go on?” “How can God allow this to happen?” We might keep praying, but feel like God isn’t answering. We might struggle when other people question our beliefs or put pressure on us to compromise for the sake of tolerance, and it can sure feel like our faith is under attack.
We tend not to talk about these times. There are probably many reasons, reasons as unique as we are. Maybe admitting it makes it more real. Maybe we’re concerned about what others will think or whether they’ll think we’re not fit to continue volunteering or serving at church. Whatever the reason, not talking about it quickly leads to feelings of loneliness, frustration, and sometimes depression.
Sometimes we look at those who lead us or other seasoned Christians and wish we could have the same confidence in our own faith that they present in theirs. But this comparison is dangerous. In all reality, we have no idea what another person has endured to produce that steadfast faith or whether or not doubts and questions are also stirring in their hearts. All we need to do is study God’s prophet Elijah in 1 and 2 Kings to discover that leaders have doubts and faith like the rest of us.
The Prophet Elijah
Elijah comes to the biblical scene after the Israelites have settled in the Promised Land, after the reigns of King David and King Solomon, and after the kingdom has split in two. Through a series of misguided choices, the culture in Israel is no longer in alignment with the one, true God: Yahweh. Idol worship and other religious practices from the surrounding cultures have crept into Israel and amalgamated and even usurped the worship of God. This is the context in which Elijah worked and prophesied.
Like our pastors, Bible study leaders, etc, prophets can seem larger than life and totally in control. The prophets we find in the Bible received words from God for his people. You would think, of all people, prophets would not struggle with doubt. After all, they hear from God! They are his representatives!
But thanks to the record of Elijah’s ministry, we can see this line of thinking for what it is: a trap.
Learning from Elijah
The stories we read about Elijah in 1 and 2 Kings actually show us Elijah’s humanity. We can identify with the doubts and struggles Elijah experienced in our own faith journey. And from Elijah’s story we can receive assurance about who God is and what we can expect from him.
I invite you to seek out biblical wisdom for the times when you wonder about God’s presence and provision, the times when you question whether or not a compromise threatens the purity of your faith, the times when you are so burned out you feel like you can’t go on, and the times when you may wonder how the work will get done. Join us for Groundwork’s series Learning from Elijah:
- God Cares and Provides - 1 Kings 17
- Choose the One, True God - 1 Kings 18
- God Listens and Whispers - 1 Kings 19
- God’s Work Goes On- 2 Kings 2:1-18
...and together we’ll be challenged and encouraged to remain steadfast in our faith.