God at Work: In Spite of You

As I think about this topic, God at Work – In Spite of you, I am reminded of Elijah, a prophet in Israel, who had become afraid and deeply depressed. He was a very bold prophet and that caused him to go against Ahab, the king of Israel. His actions also cut across the wishes of Ahab’s wife, Jezebel. She, being a very mean spirited person, sent a message to Elijah threatening to kill him. When he received the message he was so afraid and depressed that he went to a desert place, sat down under a tree and prayed that he might die. However, the word of the Lord came to him: “What are you doing here Elijah?” He responded, “The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken 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.” The Lord responded to him, “I have reserved seven thousand in Israel – all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal.” 

Does this sometimes sound like yourself? You have come into a relationship with God through faith in Christ Jesus, and you have been so excited about your experience that you have been telling it to others. Then something happens to discourage you and you become depressed. You like Elijah feel defeated. You may want to react like him and just retreat to a secluded way of life. And, not involve yourself any longer in the Lord’s work. 

At this point God seems so distant. Because of your now secluded lifestyle you may think like Elijah, “Is there anyone still putting forth a true witness for Jesus Christ?” Then one day the Lord reveals to you, “I still have thousands who are faithful to share their faith by witnessing to others and I still expect you to do that too.” You have now learned that in spite of your “seclusion” God’s work continues. You realize there are others who have traveled the path you now travel, being depressed, and are still serving the Lord. This has also made you realize it is easy to worship and serve God when things are going great, but what do you do when God seems a million miles away.

“Focus on who God is. Remind yourself what you know to be eternally true about Him: He is good, He loves you, He is with you, He knows what you are going through, He cares, and He has a good plan for your life.” (Rick Warren)

“Reflect upon your present blessings – which every person has many – not on your past misfortunes – of which all people have some.” (Charles Dickens)

“When we reflect, we’re looking at something a second time, taking it in, studying it again, pondering.” (David Jeremiah)

“The deepest level of worship, (relationship) is praising God in spite of pain, thanking God during trial, trusting Him when tempted, surrendering while suffering, and loving Him when He seems distant.” (Rick Warren)