I’m pretty sure many of us have been in a dark place, where things don’t make sense spiritually and emotionally. People have sometimes called a place like this, “a dark night of the soul.” It’s where fear, disappointment, and discouragement meet together to knock us off our feet – sometimes for long periods of time. This darkness is not necessarily about circumstances, and it’s not about the presence of enemies in our lives. It’s often not physical at all – it sometimes happens during the greatest times of our lives, circumstantially – but this darkness has the ability to drown all the great things of life out.
My wife and I actually battled this kind of discouragement a few years into our marriage, and we wondered if God was even aware of where we were and what we were going through. We would come to call this depression – and we didn’t know much about it until it became personal to us. We later learned that it affects more people than almost any other kind of mental ailment. The World Health Organization calls it, “The leading cause of disability in the world.” It’s very real to many, and it was certainly real to us.
It was such a difficult time for, but we now look back on that time as a huge time of growth and victory where God met us in the dark places. And yes, we speak of this in past tense. It’s part of our history – but not part of our present experience.
Those many years ago, we didn’t know where to turn, but when we did begin to reach out to God for answers, we found hope and instruction in an Old Testament book named 1 Kings, with a verse that said, “Enough! Now, Lord, take my life.” 1 Kings 19:4.
That got our attention and the story that unfolded before and after this verse become a beacon of hope straight from the life of a man named Elijah into the frightened young adult lives that we were living those many years ago. By the way, doing a slow read through just the two chapters of 1 Kings 18 and 19 will help you anchor yourself to God in unexplainable times of darkness and confusion. And that anchor will hold, my friend.
We discovered some things about life and God in those valleys of depressing darkness.
We learned that mountaintops of victory are often followed by valleys of despair.
We learned that how we take care of ourselves contributes to our outlook and health.
We learned that the things we fear the most are often things we should fear the least!
And we learned that God often sends the help that we so desperately need…if we’re looking!
For me, the greatest part of Elijah’s story is his meeting with God on a lonely mountain, where Elijah is wanting to end it all. Without this meeting, Elijah learns NONE of the lessons I’ve just mentioned. WITH this meeting, everything changes.
I’m not afraid to emphasize this idea of meeting with God because I believe God has promised to reveal Himself to those who seek Him! It’s not an empty promise because He’s made it! And He’s faithful to fulfill in our own lives. I’m sure He will for you, as well.
When you meet with God, He’s going to change everything. That’s what Elijah’s experience teaches us, and that’s what meetings with God tend to do:
He asks questions: What are you doing here, in this condition?
He changes perspectives: Why would you be afraid and discouraged?
He gives direction: Get up and do what I’ve asked!
All through Elijah’s story, God is telling him, “I’m not done with you. I’m not done with you. I have a plan for you. It’s not over yet.”
The stories of the Bible often surprise us. We expect a certain thing or fear a certain thing, but then God turns the entire story on a certain event – or, in this case, a non-event.
Elijah was SURE that Jezebel would murder him – after all, she had promised to so and had the military clout to bring it about. In running, he was sure he wanted GOD to take his life. He was so tired and so weary. He was thinking death from any direction. He was certain death was next. That’s where this story is so fun. We often fear the most what we should fear the least.
Do you remember how Elijah died? Did Jezebel catch him? Did he meet death prematurely? Do you remember how this story goes? Well, some of you remember. Elijah doesn’t die at all. He’s caught up in a whirlwind into heaven. There’s NO record of his death, and he actually appears later in the NEW Testament.
Why? Because God is not done with Elijah, even though Elijah thought so. We wondered about that many years ago, and then discovered, “He’s not done with us.” And if you’re here, I can confidently say, “God’s Not Done With You.”
Thoughts from John Meador and insights from God's Word.