“Then he was told, ‘Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God. God will pass by.’” 1 Kings 19:11a (MSG)
When you’re going through something so hard, so painful that you don’t think you’ll get through, it’s hard to focus on anything else. It consumes every waking moment and makes it impossible to sleep. The few hours of sleep you may get are quickly interrupted with wide-eyed panic and anxiety that awaken you to a sense of hopelessness and despair. Elijah could relate. He was so discouraged and alone he hid himself in a cave. Isolated and insulated from anyone else, he asked the Lord to just take his life. It wasn’t worth living any longer. His depression was so deep that God needed to get his attention. His encounter with God is a powerful example of how God works in our lives as well. How did Elijah get through it? You can read the story in 1 Kings 19.
The first challenge was to draw Elijah out of the cave of isolation. In 1 Kings 19:11a, the Bible tells us that God spoke to him and said, “Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God. God will pass by.” God used his greatest struggle to get his attention. C.S. Lewis said, “Pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our consciences, but shouts in our pains. It is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”
What is the pain you’re feeling that cries out to God? God uses our greatest struggles to get our attention. Are you at the mountain of attention before God? It may not feel like it but you’re in a good place. The Bible says that God had to get Elijah’s attention so he could hear the voice of the Lord. There on that mountain we’re told that a hurricane wind ripped through the mountain and shattered the rocks before God, “…but God wasn’t to be found in the wind.” 1 Kings 19:11b (MSG) The winds of change get our attention. We’re forced to adapt to a new normal. But how? We feel like we will never get through the uninvited changes forced upon us. God uses the winds of change to get our attention so that we will cry out to Him.
“…after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake….” 1 Kings 19:11c (MSG) There are times in our lives when we’re knocked to our knees with earth shaking news that rocks our very foundation. What do you do when the foundations of your life are shaken? God uses our troubles to shake us and to break us of our pride and independence so He can bring us to a place of blessing. He uses our brokenness to bring us to blessedness where we can hear His voice.
“…and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn’t in the fire….” 1 Kings 19:12a (MSG) God wasn’t in the wind, or the earthquake, or the fire. He allowed them in Elijah’s life not to frighten him or punish him but to get his attention so He could shift his inward focus to an upward focus and see that God had a purpose in his pain.
You may feel like you’re going through the fire and you can’t see anyway out. Maybe the very choices you made sparked the flames of failure in your life or marriage. You may wonder how God could possibly get you through it or even if He would. But God uses our mess to create a life message. God uses our greatest struggle to bring us to Him. He may allow us to flame out in life so that we turn to Him in failure and discover a loving and forgiving God on the other side who is more concerned with our character than our comfort. He uses our struggles to push us into our calling!
With Elijah on the mountain at attention, he was in a place to hear God speak. The wind, the earthquake and the fire had refocused his attention and caused him to look up and listen for God to speak in a way he would not have before. Tomorrow we’ll discover how God spoke to His prophet. It may be that you’ll hear Him as well.