1 Kings 19:1-15a
Elijah did not exactly get it right, did he? God gives him a great victory over four hundred-fifty prophets of Baal in a face-to-face encounter, but Elijah runs scared from the threat of one person, Jezebel, who is miles away. God sends a messenger to make sure that Elijah eats, but the prophet has to be told a second time. to take on nourishment. Elijah complains that he is left alone as the only faithful one in Israel, but God points out that seven thousand others have not bowed to Baal.
Been there. Done that. Fear has a way of making us feel that we are alone. Hear has a way of throwing our view of reality out of kilter. Fear has a way of shutting down the ways we usually care for ourselves. But the final score here is God 1, Fear 0.
Of course, God does not show up exactly as Elijah (or me. . .you?) might have expected. I’m ready to say, “Let’s hear it for the God who is loud and clear! Let’s hear it for the God who thunders what we ought to do! Let’s hear it for the God who appears in the power of earthquake and fire!” But am I quite so ready to recognize the God of “sheer silence”? Am I eager to follow God when the voice of silence is the answer to the plea, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
I take heart from the realization that after Elijah has had such a roller-coaster ride with God and after Elijah has been ready to quit in despair and after Elijah has been immobilized by fear, today’s lesson ends with God still sending Elijah on a mission. Even with my own unevenness of trust, what does a God have for me to do?
What I can offer, O God, is a frail beginning (and even that beginning has come from you), but send me on a God-sized mission. Amen.