When God Ministers To Us
WHEN GOD MINISTERS TO US:
A Personal Look + Application into 1 Kings 19
BY KARA TRIBOULET
Have you ever fled to the wilderness a place where you felt alone, lost everything, desperate for truth? Maybe you did it on purpose, or maybe you didn’t want to be there but circumstances looming in our broken world brought you there?
Oh, I was there. I was there that night lying in my bed wondering when I would stop feeling the way I felt. At that moment it was as if the words of Elijah were my own, “I have had enough, Lord.”
I remember the night very clearly. I was laying in my bed, my face wet from floods of tears that just wouldn’t stop pouring out of my eyes. On and off crying for days. Months. Over a year? No way. Had it really been that long?
I reached for my bedside lamp and flipped the switch. Even though the lamp on my nightstand was bursting with light, all I felt was darkness.
Talk to me, He said.
I have nothing to say. All I have are these tears.
Then listen, He said.
I grabbed my Bible off my nightstand and held it in my shaking hands. I remembered how quickly I used to grab this Book, desperate to find more of Jesus. More of God. More of me. Searching the pages for answers and comfort, guidance and lessons. But I hadn’t had that fervor for a while. I knew everything I was seeking was in there. I just didn’t have the strength to search anymore.
But I needed Him now. I flipped through the pages, my fingers begging to come across something, anything that would bring light to my dark thoughts. Suddenly, I knew exactly where to turn.
1 Kings 19. Read it here.
This is a story I have read and heard from the pulpit many times. It’s the story of God speaking to Elijah. Every time I’ve heard a sermon on this story, the same application has been given: God doesn’t always speak in the ways we want him to: loud and miraculous. But he is often there speaking to us in the quiet, and we need to be intentional with our listening in order to hear Him.
This powerful concept that has resonated in other seasons of my life. But this time when I read it, it ministered to me in ways I never expected.
This time, what stuck out to me were the simple and practical ways God ministered to Elijah.
Elijah had just won a showdown with the evil King Ahab. Actually, God won and used the faith of Elijah to do so. You see, Elijah was the only prophet of the Lord left in the land and Ahab, king of the nation Israel whose god was supposed to be God, worshipped Baal and influenced Israel to do the same. Read the full story here. It’s amazing.
God had just shown off in a mighty and miraculous way, yet Ahab and his wife still refused to profess that God was the one true God and threatened to kill Elijah immediately after.
So, Elijah flees to the wilderness. Alone.
At that moment, the Bible says an angel touched him and told him to get up and eat. Bread and a jar of water were set before him. Elijah ate it, drank the water, and then took a nap.
Same, Elijah. Same.
Again, the angel came to him and told him to eat some more.
How intentional was God at that moment? God demonstrated that he was taking care of him spiritually and mentally by physically providing for his needs.
God knows what we need. He sees us. He sees our circumstances and He knows how we feel about them. I would even say that God carries the pain that we sometimes carry. He wants to carry it. He never wanted us to experience depression or sorrow or pain. So, He cries with us. He sends comforters to us. And He shows us that He is right there; our Provider.
Then, He speaks.
He allows us to have space to cry out to him about what we are sorrowful about and then he shows up.
Not in the fire. Not in the earthquake. But in the sound of a gentle whisper.
The more I get to know God, the more I believe that God speaks in the fire, the earthquake, and the whisper. But he chooses to communicate to us according to what we need at that time.
I think a gentle whisper was exactly what Elijah, and I, needed to hear in that state of mind.
If you are like how I was that night, I encourage you to let God feed you. Let him give you a drink of water. Let him be a safe place to take a nap.
And then let him whisper to you in the wilderness. Listen intently for him. He is there. He loves you. He will provide for your needs.
Photo by Rachel Lynette