By: Steve Klassen
I Kings 19 tells the story of how Elijah lost perspective and quickly spiraled downward into discouragement and depression. But it also shows how God got Elijah out of his funk and helped him regain perspective.
Elijah had just experienced a remarkable demonstration of God’s power on Mount Carmel (I Kings 18). But the very next day a woman threatened to have him killed and Elijah listened to that threat. Fear overtook him and he ran for his life. It’s amazing how quickly we humans can lose perspective.
So how did God get Elijah out of the funk he was in? The answers are refreshing and down to earth.
It started with a visit from an angel when Elijah was feeling the lowest. The angel brought food and drink. No great message really, just provision for the journey and the practical encouragement to “get up and eat”. Then it’s rest. Another practical and necessary part of life for us all. Elijah sleeps.
Next it’s a question: “What are you doing here Elijah?” Questions are practical. God’s questions to people throughout the Bible are simple and yet very engaging. Its starts in the Garden of Eden from God to Adam, “Where are you?”
Next for Elijah is a very unique and intimate encounter on a mountain;
The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”
Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.
The people we are partnering with, guiding on various retreats, hosting at our chalet or facilitating training sessions for are honest souls. They are quick to admit they lose perspective and need the God of Elijah to get them back on track. Here are a few examples from the last weeks of our experiences;
- A grandpa on a solo time in silence enjoyed the intimate picture of his granddaughter holding his hand. He let the picture speak to him about God’s love for us. With tears he shared with the group how God wants to hold our hands unashamedly and journey with us.
- A leader of a dynamic project was feeling overwhelmed part way through. He confessed his frustration to God and felt a gentle invitation to “Come away with me.” As he took some time to be alone with God it included a sighting of a pod of dolphins that melted his heart and opened him up to seeing things from God’s perspective. Provision for the project quickly followed and this man has regained confidence.
- A woman had been interpreting some hardships in her life as God’s judgment against her, but through the help of a friend and a restful retreat she is seeing things differently.
- A leader said to himself on the morning of a retreat at the MARK Centre, “This is the worst possible time in my schedule for a retreat.” After the half day retreat with his staff team he changed his tune as he declared – “This was the best time for a retreat!”
- A man who never writes poetry came out of some hours of silence with refreshing and inspiring prose. God’s heart as the Gardener of our souls came through the poetry and lifted the spirits of the men on retreat with him.
God has a way of getting his people through challenging times to places of regaining perspective. How that happens might be surprisingly simple. It might be a gentle whisper or a little food and rest that gets you out of your funk.