“Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there. Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.” – 1 Kings 19:3-4.
When we look at the story of Elijah’s flight and subsequent prayer for death, we naturally have to pause and wonder what happened. This is a pretty sudden reversal from power and boldness to fear and panic. It is startling to think of someone like Elijah frightened away by the threat of Jezebel. When Ahab came in and told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, of course she didn’t take it well. Of course she was incredibly incensed by this, especially with the prophets being slain. And of course, she wanted to extract revenge. But was that reason enough to run?
I wonder what we would have done in that situation? Today, as in Biblical times, everything is about what we see and how we respond to it that matters. James says that Elijah was a man just like we are and he had the same strengths and weaknesses. We are all the same. One day we can be on the mountaintop and then running for our life the next, and it can happen a lot quicker than we think.
For whatever reason, Elijah was not not able to look beyond Jezebel’s threats so he basically made a run for it. Panic and fear took over and he ran away as far as he could. Just like Elijah, you can be on the mountaintop one day and defeated the next. As you journey forward in life, don’t be surprised when fear emerges. Remember, nothing good in life comes without a struggle against fear. When facing a fear, ask yourself, “of what am I really afraid?” Then admit your fears to yourself and God. Then, turn immediately to the matter of your faith. It is the solution for fear. The key is to run headlong at fear with your faith in Christ Jesus and your confidence firmly set in Him.
Do you remember the story of Robinson Crusoe? He gets shipwrecked on an island and a Bible is washed up as part of the wreckage. He reads it and then starts a relationship with the Lord. But then he sees a footprint in the sand, just one footprint, and he knows that he is not alone. He returns to his camp and boards it all up, and then when he has finished the barricading he can no longer sleep because he is worried about cannibalism. He saw one footprint and it changed everything for him. He failed to trust in God because he was afraid.
God wants so much more for us than to walk through life full of fear, worry and anxiety. “Don’t worry about anything,” the Bible tells us in the book of Philippians, chapter 4, ”instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”
- To what extent does fear influence your decision making?
- What can you do this week to identify and defang your fear? What can you do to begin to believe and live as though God’s love has the power to overcome your fear?