Are you tired today? Can we pray for what’s keeping you up at night?
“…he came to a cave and lodged in it; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?’” (1 Kings 18:9, Amplified version)
Elijah had seen God do miraculous things- things that validated his ministry – but he was now exhausted. After hearing of threats on his life, Elijah ran over 100 miles into the desert where he sat under a tree asking God to take his life. He had had enough. But God was not finished living in and through Elijah and so he was revived with rest and food from the hand of an angel. Then, “Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb.”
Surely now after this very personal ministration by an angel, Elijah would be ready for a new ministry beginning. Instead we find him in a cave where God asks the haunting question, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” Wasn’t the presence of an angel enough to assure Elijah that God had been—and would continue to be—faithful?
Elijah was human just like we are. He was too tired, too afraid, too spent to go on. Perhaps he wondered if that angel was just a dream. Perhaps he wondered if his ministry was over. Perhaps he had forgotten the promises of God. And so he finds a cave.
God reveals Himself to Elijah in the gentlest of whispers, but then He begins His new message with these simple words: “Go back the way you came…” Get out of the cave, retrace your steps, do the job I have called you to do.
While caves can be dark and forbidding, they can also seem safe – away from the elements, far from the people who threaten (or merely disturb) us, distant from the unending call of responsibilities. But eventually we will hear God’s question: “What are you doing here?” And often the answer is the same as the one spoken to Elijah: “Go back the way you came.”
Question: Is God calling you to leave a cave in your life? Have you been running into safe caves and not into the arms of our loving Father?