God met his servant Elijah in his desperate moment of discouragement and despair. This is mercy at its best, beautifully portrayed by the Master Himself.
First, God allowed Elijah a time of rest and refreshment. No sermon. No rebuke. No blame. No shame. No lightning bolt from heaven, saying, “Look at you! Get up, you worthless ingrate! Get on your feet! Quickly, back on the job!”
Instead, God said, “Take it easy, my son. Relax. You haven’t had a good meal in a long time.” Then He catered a meal of freshly baked bread and cool, refreshing water. That must have brought back sweet memories of those simple days by the brook at Cherith. How gracious of God!
Fatigue can lead to all sorts of strange imaginations. It’ll make you believe a lie. Elijah was believing a lie, partly because he was exhausted. So God gave him rest and refreshment, and afterward Elijah went on for forty days and nights in the strength of it.
Second, God communicated wisely with Elijah. God said, “Elijah! Get up and walk out of this cave. Man, it’s dark in here. Go out there and stand in the light. Stand on the mountain before Me. That’s the place to be encouraged. Forget Jezebel. I want you to get your eyes on Me. Come on, I’m here for you. I always will be.”
God’s presence was not in wind or earthquake or fire. His voice came in the gentle breeze. Those sweet zephyrs were like windswept, invisible magnets, drawing Elijah out of the cave. Do you see what God did? He drew Elijah out of the cave of self-pity and depression. And once Elijah was out of that cave, God asked him again, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
God showed Elijah that he still had a job to do—that there was still a place for him. Disillusioned and exhausted though he was, he was still God’s man and God’s choice for “such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). And as far as this I’m-all-alone stuff went, “Elijah, let Me set the record straight,” said God. “There are seven thousand faithful out there who have not bowed to Baal. You’re really not alone. At any given moment, with the snap of My divine fingers, I can bring to the forefront a whole fresh battalion of My troops.” What reassurance that brought.
Excerpted from Charles R. Swindoll, Great Days with the Great Lives (Nashville: W Publishing Group, 2005). Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.