Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” 6 He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again. 7 The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. 9 There he went into a cave and spent the night. And the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 He replied, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.” 11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks 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 came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” –
1 Kings 19:5-13
Right now most of us have had enough of being alone. We have gone through a year and a half of covid-imposed “aloneness” which has driven many people crazy. The isolation has been tormenting to everyone. The introverts have a slight edge on the extroverted “people person” who thrives on interacting with people, but everyone has felt the discouragement of being alone from a greater measure of interaction.
God has built us for relationships. We might brag that we do not need others, but that is not the nature of how God has created us. Some people find interacting with others difficult which often fuels the desire to be alone but that is not the norm for most of us. We are built for relationship with God; we are built for community with each other. Our sin and brokenness can create a false sense of security in “hiding from relationships,” but usually this is driven by sin or bad experiences with people. The risk of getting hurt again is more fearful that taking a step of faith into relationships so we often find it safer to hide than to engage people. Nevertheless, all of us need interaction. The idea of being completely alone on a desert island with no other human contact at all may sound appealing for a while, but the indefinite reality of having no one to interact with will normally drive most of us insane.
We live in this noisy, chaotic, blaring, frenetic life where technology rules. We are being constantly bombarded with information and we are addicted to it. If you try and take away someone’s access to their phone, IPad, social media platforms and so on, you are likely to start a rebellion. We have mastered the ability to fill our life with chaos and superficial connections that only silo our life even more. We are suffering in a self-imposed isolation and the gateway into our life is through the window of technology. We suffer even more and we are not coping well with it.
God has built us for relationship with Him. Elijah found out that life can be hard, so withdrawing once in a while is not a bad thing unless it creates a mental spiral that causes discouragement and even depression. But getting away and allowing God to whisper into our heart and mind is absolutely necessary. Elijah was not on a prayer retreat, he was exercising survival tactics. He desperately needed time with the Lord and he was fortunate that even when he was not (really) pursuing God, God pursued him. Sometimes we need to get away from the noise and spend time listening to our heavenly Father. The problem of course, is that we have no idea how to deal with silence. We have been so programmed to always have noise that we don’t know how to quiet our hearts to listen. This may be the reason our “quite lives” our “devotional time” our “prayer lives” are such a struggle. Our minds wander in the quiet arena of God’s presence searching for noise to keep our minds activated and alert.
Don’t be afraid of getting alone with God. If you do not know how, that is a warning light that maybe we have become dependent on the wrong things in life. We might even say we have idols (things we cannot say “no” to or we think we cannot live without). The only “thing” we cannot live without is an intimate relationship with Christ.
In His presence, Pastor Brad.