Elijah responded to a heightened level of stress over a prolonged period of time the same way some of us do: He ran and hid.
Some folks blow up. Others look for an escape. We pull the curtains closed, turn the cell phone off, stop answering our email, hole up inside under a blanket and sulk — all the while letting God know that we’ve had enough and it might be better if God would just mercifully end this whole thing right now!
What caused Elijah to panic like that?
As best I can figure it, Elijah had two problems: (1) There was some stuff he forgot about; (2) There was some stuff he didn’t know about.
Let’s talk about the first problem today, and we’ll talk about the second problem tomorrow.
Elijah seems to have forgotten all about the three years when God miraculously provided for him during the drought. Birds brought him food. A poor widow and her son allowed him to stay with them. While the rest of the nation was starving, Elijah had enough to eat.
Beyond his immediate life, Elijah also seems to have forgotten all the great things God had done through the years to provide for his people — all the outlandish promises he had made and then kept. Abraham and Sarah having a baby in their old age. Joseph being elevated to second in command in Egypt. The 10 Plagues. The Red Sea. The Walls of Jericho. The sun standing still over Gibeon. Hailstones killing the opposing army on the road from Beth Horon to Azekah. David and Goliath.
God had a track record of doing crazy stuff like that — just to keep his promises.
But Elijah forgot, and, because he forgot, he thought his present was disconnected from his past.
If Elijah could have remembered God’s past faithfulness, he would have been more inclined to trust God’s promised future. But he didn’t. Instead, Elijah forgot.
It’s really easy to chide Elijah for forgetting, but we’re guilty of the same thing, aren’t we? We could all tell stories about times when it seemed as if the well had run dry, but something mysterious and inexplicable happened — a check arrived just in time — a phone call out of the blue — a chance meeting with someone who opened a door or made an introduction. We’ve all had those moments when we are forced to admit, “Only God could have done this.”
But we forget, and, when we forget, it’s easy to panic.
So, how could we lengthen our memory? What are some things we could do to remind us that our present circumstances are connected to God’s past faithfulness?