Having read 1 Kings 19:1-11, we could trace the reaction of the prophet Elijah to the following events: Elijah had gained a resolute victory over the army of false prophets. He was on the highest pinnacle of glory and power and at the top of his ministry. And in that very moment, Jezebel (a symbol of evil in the history of Israel and the daughter of the Phoenician king-idolater) sends her messenger threatening to kill him.
The greatest prophet had the same weaknesses as so many others. He was ‘’a human being, even as we are’’. He was deceived and got scared. Offense and disappointment controlled him. He ran to the wilderness and began to pray to God about his own death. But by running away, he moved back from the place of his calling where he would have been able to produce fruit. Despite his getaway, God strengthened him supernaturally. Jezebel could not implement her plan, as she had neither the strength nor the power. Ultimately, she could only intimidate Elijah.
God did not leave Elijah and kept him every single minute. A special action of God’s love was manifested in a “breath of subtle quietness” when they met at Mount Horeb. God showed that His love was much bigger and more powerful than fire and earthquakes; that He is victorious over any fears, offenses, and disappointments with the power of His love. It was a testing of faith for Elijah. And he went through it. He saw that he was an ordinary man and humbled himself before God. Then God spoke from His heart to Elijah's heart, and this love remained with him.
Another manifestation of God’s love occurred with Prophet Jonah (Jonah 1-4, James 5:17). The Lord wants His love to be known even by those who do not accept Him; those who have embittered hearts. He charged Jonah to warn the inhabitants of Nineveh about the calamity that awaited them for their sins. But Jonah, like Elijah, ran away from God and from His will. Later, he obeyed God, addressed to the inhabitants of Nineveh and warned them that in 40 days Nineveh would be destroyed. To the astonishment of the prophet, the Assyrians who caused multiple scourges to the Jewish people actually repented. God spared Nineveh and the account of Jonah became one of the most powerful in history.
Just like Jonah and Elijah, we might be scared in some situations, forgetting that God is with us. This is natural for our flesh to believe evil, focusing on dreadful things and thinking that bad things might happen to us. While it is natural in our renewed soul, it can be unnatural in our flesh to trust in what God is showing us. If we are looking with our fleshly eyes at what is going on, the negative images which Satan draws can become more real than the reality itself.
And when this happens, it does not seem to us to be manifestations of God’s love and we may find ourselves running away from God; running away from our calling. There are two kinds of reactions we have in response to the enemy’s attempts to frighten us:
- To run far away or to freeze with fear and wait until “it” happens
- To cast our fears and doubts aside and trust God.
Friends, let us remember that we are in charge of ourselves. It is important to choose the correct perspective, which is to stop looking at the circumstances and immerse ourselves into our spirit where God’s victory and God’s glory exist. We are but ordinary children of God serving Him. No successes of ours guarantee that we will rest on our laurels. We cannot achieve anything with our efforts. We need His love always, just as we did on the day of our repentance.
God knows our weaknesses. God’s love always remains with us even when we are afraid and the enemy has defeated us, when we choose the wrong way, turn our eyes away from the loving Father and forget how He loves us. But God doesn’t forget the way He loves us. God shows that we cannot handle with troubles and problems on our own if we do not grasp our Father’s hand. Everything He teaches us through our failures and everything He gives us in our victories is for the purpose of helping us to boldly face our enemy in future.
So, we can rejoice that God shows us our weakness, rejoice when He tests us, rejoice that He has put us in God’s family where we are covered by His grace. If you had failed because of fear of becoming ill or had given into fear in another situation, don’t be embarrassed; don’t feel shy about revealing this to your spiritual leader. God’s absolute defense is in fulfilling His will and it is manifested in the place He has defined for us.
We also have to understand that God’s love does not enslave our will. Every human, including believers, already have freedom from God. And we are to use this freedom together with God and not contrary to Him. A human should not oppose his will to the will of God nor to ignore his calling by giving priority to the deeds of flesh. Repeatedly God stops us with His love, showing us when we are going the wrong way and giving warnings not to go against His will. But let us not take this for granted. It won’t last forever and at some point, the consequences of our disobedience may become irreversible.