For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness,
but one of power, love, and sound judgment.
2 Timothy 1:7 (HCSB)
Series Focus: “Piece by Piece”
Decisions, decisions. We consider, act, and respond to so many situations every single day. Familiarity breeds routine. Change is inevitable. But the unknown can be frightening. Sometimes, when forced to make a choice, chaos erupts as our minds rail through all the what-ifs. These demanding confrontations, even if only in our minds, often emerge from fear and activate our fight, flight, or freeze responses.
As isolated as we may feel in these struggles, we are not alone. Everyone has experienced fight, flight, or freeze reactions. Let’s visit a story in 1 Kings 19, involving King Ahab, his wife, Jezebel, and the prophet Elijah. Jezebel worshiped Baal, a pagan god, and Elijah served Yahweh, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Elijah confronted and challenged the prophets of Baal and was victorious. In retaliation, Jezebel threatened to kill Elijah.
1 Kings 19:3-5a HCSB reports:
Then Elijah became afraid and immediately ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba that belonged to Judah, he left his servant there, but he went on a day’s journey into the wilderness. He sat down under a broom tree and prayed that he might die. He said, “I have had enough! Lord, take my life, for I’m no better than my fathers.” Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree.
Can you relate to Elijah’s emotions and response? Have you run away from situations in fear and hid out in isolation? Have you relented and expressed, “Enough! I can’t do this anymore!” Have you asked God to take you home to His Kingdom because that’s the only relief and deliverance you could see at that moment?
You are not alone. The enemy would like us to believe we are alone and there is none who will stand with us, speak for us, fight for us, and help us. But the enemy is a liar and deceiver, a thief and a destroyer. God is the giver of every wonderful gift! He gave the BEST gift through His Son, Jesus—our rescuer, our deliverer, our protector, our sanctifier, our salvation. And God has provided every believer with His Holy Spirit—our comforter, our guide, our teacher, our helper.
Let’s continue with Elijah’s experience in 1 Kings 19:5b-9a HCSB:
Suddenly, an angel touched him. The angel told him, “Get up and eat.” Then he looked, and there at his head was a loaf of bread baked over hot stones, and a jug of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. Then the angel of the Lord returned for a second time and touched him. He said, “Get up and eat, or the journey will be too much for you.” So he got up, ate, and drank. Then on the strength from that food, he walked 40 days and 40 nights to Horeb, the mountain of God. He entered a cave there and spent the night.
God provided for Elijah even when he was hiding out, away from everyone and everything. With patient compassion, God allowed Elijah to rest and refuel. His body, mind, and spirit required this rest after the trauma he experienced and to prepare for the journey ahead. The exhaustion Elijah experienced from standing in righteousness against the evil around him blinded him from seeing his next step. Even though Elijah was ready to give up and die, God would not allow this.
As the chapter continues, 1 Kings 19:9b-13 HCSB says:
Then the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of Hosts, but the Israelites have abandoned Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are looking for me to take my life.” Then He said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the Lord’s presence.” At that moment, the Lord passed by. A great and mighty wind was tearing at the mountains and was shattering cliffs before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.
Amid the chaos of every single battle we face, God whispers truth, comfort, instruction, and peace to us. Our world may shatter, shake, and burn. Despite the destruction, as we stand still in His presence, God speaks life to us. He calls us to see ourselves—locate ourselves—so we can regroup and step back into His purpose. He reminds us who we are and whose we are so we can move forward in the way He has prepared for us.
Fear—of the unknown, from the trauma behind us, of the battles ahead of us—can provoke our reactions of panic. We may fight, run away, isolate, or freeze. Honestly, like Elijah, we may have each of those reactions in any battle. Be assured that God knows this, and He understands. He has provided us the way that leads to life.
“Fear not” is communicated by God and His messengers over a hundred times throughout the Bible. Comfort, instruction, and encouragement often follow this command. God is with you always. Scripture confirms He will never leave you and He will never turn His back on you. He is for you and His love for you endures forever. Fear may rise within you as you face battles and have to make decisions. What’s the right way? What’s the wrong choice? What’s the next step? Seek God. Step away from the chaos and be still in His presence. Listen for His whisper and let His peace lead you. God is your sustainer in every place and with every step.
Holding Fast to Hope,
Scripture references: 2 Timothy 1:7; 1 Kings 19