Have you ever found yourself hiding from life? Has life ever gotten so hard that you go and retreat “in your cave?” I know that I have done this on numerous occasions. I think that if we are truly honest that we all can say we have been in this space a little more than we would like to admit. The truth is it is a natural response to want to hide when things aren’t going well, or when we feel like a failure. Elijah the prophet found himself in this exact position, numerous times. In fact, we just covered one of those moments in the post before.
How is it that such a mighty man of God could go from seemingly having it all together one moment to hiding in a cave and be ready to throw in the towel? The answer is simple. Life gets hard. We become unsure, and overwhelmed. We begin to doubt God, and his capabilities for working out situations in our lives and so we hide.
We hide from the unknown. We hide from the fear of what could happen. We hide from what has happened. We hide because we believe it is easier to run, than it is to face whatever is going on head on.
Yes, we hide.
Below we find the prophet Elijah hiding himself, not wanting to go on. But we also see God speak to Elijah to get his attention. Let’s take a look below at 1 Kings 19:9-13 (AMP):
9 There he came to a cave and spent the night in it; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 He said, “I have been very [c]zealous (impassioned) for the Lord God of hosts (armies) [proclaiming what is rightfully and uniquely His]; for the sons of Israel have abandoned (broken) Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I, only I, am left; and they seek to take away my life.”
11 So He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord was passing by, and a great and powerful wind was tearing out the mountains and breaking the rocks in pieces before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind, [there was] an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake, [there was] a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire, [there was] the sound of a gentle blowing. 13 When Elijah heard the sound, he wrapped his face in his mantle (cloak) and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
So much just happened in the passage above! We see Elijah and God have an a very interesting discussion, but most importantly we see Elijah pouring out his heart and his insecurities to God. He let’s God know why he is hiding and how he feels. Have you ever found yourself explaining to God why you can’t do something he asked you to do? Have you ever found yourself questioning if you could fulfill your purpose? That is exactly what is going on in this passage. Elijah is letting God know that he has done his best but it doesn’t seem to be going the way he thinks it should.
Now here is the kicker. We see God respond to Elijah by telling him to come out of the cave and to stand in the presence of the Lord. What does that mean? That means that God wanted to get Elijah out of the dark space that he was in so that he could come into the presence of God. This is so powerful! Why? Because often times we want to stay miserable and ask God to change our circumstances. We cannot do both! If we want to change our situation we must choose to leave the dark place, we are in and step into the presence of the Lord. Now the next thing that happens is quite amazing. When the presence of the Lord shows up on the mountain it shakes up some things! It causes a fire, a wind that rips apart the mountain, and an earthquake! However, the passage notes that God was not in that. He was found in the still small voice that communicated with Elijah after the mountain had been shook up! What does that mean? It means that God’s presence alone shook up everything that was going on in Elijah’s life, and that his presence was all powerful. He wanted to show Elijah the power of being in his presence. However, in that same breath God only spoke to Elijah in a still small and gentle voice. Why? Well I think there are several reasons but one of them is because he is an intimate God, and he loves us. He will not compete with all of our complaints and excuses about why we feel we cannot do a thing. We must quiet ourselves so that we can hear that his still small voice.
What happened next for Elijah was amazing! In the still small voice God gave him instructions and strategy for all the things he had been working out behind the scenes for Elijah while he was considering giving up. Elijah had no idea what God was working on behind the scenes for him! God had every concern worked out! The only way Elijah was able to finally know that was because he stepped out of the cave and into God’s presence.
So what does that mean for us? How can we apply this lesson to our lives? Here are three pointers to help you get back out there!
1. Get out of the cave- In life we come across circumstances that may make us want to hide, or give up. When we allow ourselves to hide in that cave for too long we begin to forfeit our destiny for our feelings. We must choose to leave that dark place and step into God’s presence. God called for Elijah to come out of the cave he was in and stand in his presence. God is calling us as well, to come out of the dark place we have been hiding in and come into his presence, so that he can give us everything that we need.
2. Step Into God’s Presence- When we choose to step into God’s presence we are communicating to our circumstances that God is bigger than anything we are going through. The same way that God’s presence alone shook up that mountain it will do the same in our lives. When we stand in the presence of God he will shake off that pain, rejection, fear, and shame that we feel. In his presence we become renewed and rejuvenated!
3. Listen to the still small voice- Sometimes we can overlook the still small voice of God because we are expecting him to communicate with us in a more grandiose way. Although he could do that, most times he will speak to us in a still small voice. It is a very intimate form of communication. God gave Elijah all of his instructions in that same still small voice. God spoke to his situation and renewed Elijah’s hope through that same still small voice. In order to hear God, we must allow ourselves to be in a quiet space. He is right there, and he is waiting.
I hope that after reading this you are able to see that even if you feel like you have gotten to the end of the road, that it is not over! Although Elijah was close to giving up, God was right there to help him get back on track. The same applies to you and I. We are never to far away from God that he cannot pick us up and get us back to where we need to be.