October 8, 2021
“Don’t tell anybody,” my friend said “I’m so embarrassed.”
You’ll agree when you read the details. This happened years ago and she gave me permission to share it with you.
We had pulled in the parking lot of our favorite shopping mall. She parked the car and got out. As I opened the passenger door, I noticed the car was still running. “I don’t think you turned off the engine,” I said as I grabbed my purse from the seat.
“I did,’” she said. “What you hear is the car next to us.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yep,” she said, “c’mon, grab my arm, let’s go.”
Four hours later, we tossed our heavy shopping bags in the trunk. She opened the driver’s door and gasped. “Are you kidding me? My car is still running.”
Is she the only one who has done this? Probably not. Actually, Elijah, the respected prophet did something similar. He left his engine of deception running. And because he did, he fell into two traps.
The story fills the pages of 1 Kings 17-19. The details illustrate how God showcased His miracle power before Elijah’s eyes.
[The following recount is paraphrased].
With a blend of boldness and faith, Elijah dares the prophets of the false god Baal. “See if your god will send fire to burn the bull as your sacrifice,” he said.
They prayed to Baal morning till night. Nothing happened.
But when Elijah built an altar of stone and wood, he earnestly prayed to the Lord. And God answered by sending fire to burn the water-drenched altar Elijah had built.
Next miracle: Elijah witnesses the supernatural increase of a widow’s small amount of oil. She only had enough for a loaf of bread for her and her son. But prompted by the Lord, Elijah requested her to use it to make food for him. As she baked and baked, God multiplied the amount of oil and She never ran out.
One more time God shows off His power. When the same widow’s son dies, Elijah asks God to bring him back to life. God answers and the boy lives.
By now, Elijah’s faith in God’s miracle power should be off the charts. Not so. The moment he hears word that the evil queen Jezebel, boiling with vengeance, vowed to kill him, Elijah trembled.
He shook because he forgot God’s power capable of protecting him. He should have recalled the miracles performed by the most powerful God. But no, Elijah didn’t remember. Instead, he became vulnerable. And that’s when the enemy stepped in. Satan had prepared a cloak of fear. Elijah slipped into it and took off. He ran and ran until exhausted, he plopped under the tree of discouragement, mumbling words of despair.
He got caught in the two deadly traps: first, He forgot God’s goodness and, second, he believed the enemy’s lies.
But wait a minute. Don’t we do the same? When our security is threatened, we fall in the trap of forgetfulness. We tend to dismiss what God has done in the past, the blessings He has shown, his love that sustained us when we faced the cruelty of the world, His presence when we dashed through our hectic day, and His patience when we again failed to seek Him. All that goodness seems to drown in the sea of anxiety.
And that state of anxiety becomes fertile ground for the enemy to plant his lies deep into our mind. He whispers that our world will crumble if adversity strikes, that our security will be ending, that our health will be at risk, that our marriage may crumble, that loneliness won’t leave, that our kids will fail, and that through heartache, God is distant.
But He’s not. The darker the valleys, the brighter His light shines. The more painful the situation, the more power He offers. And the more we cry out, the more He listens, holds us and comfort us until His answer comes.
And while waiting, we relish in the truth that He’s still performing miracles, He’s still making the way, He’s still speaking His truth, He’s still proving His faithfulness. And He, as you read this, knows what you need, what you long for and what you fear.
Father, how often I sat under the tree of discouragement, confessing my mind has lost the memories of Your goodness and Your deep love. May I keep those lies out of my mind and never forget Your goodness that brings profound comfort and security. In Jesus’ name.
What lies do you need to silence so your mind can recall what God has done for you?
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