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So then brook dried up (there was a drought going on, after all), and then God sent him to a widow, way up north in an area ruled by Sidon. When he met her, she was gathering sticks to cook a last meal for her and her son. But God’s providence shone through. Her oil and her flour lasted until the drought went away. Later on, her son died, Elijah brought him back from the dead.
The Holy Spirit is very much alive and well and working throughout people all over the world. Miracles such as this definitely still happen, but even in Biblical times it was a rarity. In the Bible, how many people raised someone else from the dead? Five. Elijah, Elisha, Jesus, Peter and Paul. That’s a pretty short list, containing some awesome Biblical heroes. The point I’m trying to make by going through Elijah’s backstory is this: he was no spiritual lightweight. He was a man accustomed to going to spiritual war.]
Elijah boldly confronts Ahab and his 850 prophets. Outnumbered to such a great degree, Elijah challenges them to test to see who's God can cause fire to come down from the sky and consume a burnt offering, a task that should be easy to the prophets of Baal, god of the storms. The whole day these men call upon their God, waiting for Baal to answer them. The whole time, Elijah is taunting them, at one time telling them to yell louder because Baal might be taking a leak and was unable to hear them. (By the way, that's one of my favorite Bible verses.) Elijah was fearless throughout because He knew God had His back.
Then it was Elijah's turn to test God. Immediately, God reigned down fire and consumed the bull being offered up as a burn offering, along with all the water that Elijah had drenched the offering in, just to prove how awesome God is. Things went great for Elijah...no so much for the 850 guys who were decapitated.
Elijah didn't always do a good job of remembering God's faithfulness, though. When Jezebel sends a messenger threatening his life, what does Elijah do? Does he remember the mighty ways God sustained him when the ravens fed him? No. Does he remember that the widow’s oil and flour didn’t run out? No. Did he remember raising the widow’s son from the dead?!? No! He forgot his boldness and courage. He forgot what God did for him. He flip-floped from absolute confidence in God to fear of another person.
But that wouldn’t happen to us, would it? We never forget what God for us. We always remember everything, right? We forget things. I read something awhile back—something true, by the way—about a man who had a birthday. At his workplace, a cake is always gotten for whoever’s birthday it is. Except they forgot that it was his birthday. What really made it stung wasn’t the fact that he’d been working there for over a year. What made it sting even worse was the fact that the restaurant where he worked was owned by his dad and grandparents.
Spiritually, we do similar things. We forget what God has done for us. That’s stupid to do. I’m as guilty as the next person of it. But it’s still stupid. A key aspect to a healthy spiritual life is a good memory. We must remember the everything God has done for us in the past.
So Elijah runs away in fear. He collapses underneath a tree and prays for God to take his life. Elijah seems like he’s at the end of the rope, doesn’t he? Has God given Elijah more than he can bear? Has He? Yes? No? Does God give people more than they can bear? I know I’ve been told before that God will not give us more than we can bear, but that statement is a lie. Nowhere is that found in the Bible. The closest we find is where we are told that we will not be tempted beyond what we can bear. That is completely true. But the idea that God will never give us more than we can bear…not true.
In fact, Scriptures speak of the exact opposite being the case. In Second Corinthians, Paul tells the church there that he and his companions were under great pressure, beyond what they could endure. Paul says that they despaired even of life. But, according to Paul, the reason this happened was so that they would rely upon God even more. Paul and Elijah aren’t alone. Out of the 4,000 plus people mentioned in the Bible, a lot of them were brought to their breaking point and beyond by God, all so that they would rely on Him more. Why should we think we are any different? Why should we think we’re immune? I’ve talked to Christians before who thought that something was wrong with them because they felt like God was putting on them more than they could handle. If that’s you, don’t feel bad. God does it in our lives to bring is in closer to Him. There’s nothing wrong with you. It’s just a part of God’s process. And the next step is to just give it over to God. That’s what He wants.