We live in a fallen world, which means there seems to be hardship around every twist and turn of life. As we walk this earth, we get bruised, cut, mangled, and scarred. Some cuts are fresh, others scabbed, and still others are covered by scar tissue. We fight until we feel as if there is nothing left in us, until our last drop of strength is sucked from our bones. But then what? What do we do with the brokenness? How do we keep fighting when we have nothing left to give? How do we relate to God in the midst of our brokenness?
Elijah was in a similar position in 1 Kings 19. He fled for his life and hid in the desert. Sitting under a broom tree, he felt far from God. He asked God to take his life, praying for death. Elijah couldn’t muster the strength to keep going. He didn’t see the purpose behind his fighting.
Even when we feel the furthest from God, He still shows up and gives us exactly what we need. Elijah fell asleep under that tree, and an angel of the Lord showed up and gave him food and water, sustaining him forty days and forty nights as he travelled to Horeb. The thing is, Jesus knows exactly how we feel in those dark moments. He experienced heartbreak, loneliness, brokenness, and hurt while He was on earth.
After reaching Horeb, Elijah spent the night in a cave. The Lord asked Him what he was doing there. Elijah confesses that he feels like he has been doing everything right. He’s been living righteously and obeying the Lord’s will, but he’s questioning where God is. He doesn’t understand why hardship has come. The Lord tells him to stand outside the cave. Powerful wind, a mighty earthquake, and scorching fire came before Elijah, but the Lord was not found in them. After the fire came a gentle whisper, and that is where Elijah found the Lord.
It is easy for us to walk through life and find God in the earthquake moments. It’s easy to hear His voice and feel His presence at retreats, conferences, and church. But the quiet moments late at night when the world seems to be crashing down? That’s when it’s harder to hear Him. But it’s in those moments when His whisper comes, tenderly soothing our cuts and bruises. Elijah found God in the gentle whisper that day, not the big displays. The presence of God and our proximity to Him are not dependent on our emotional highs and lows. His proximity to us is unchanging in the mountains, valleys, and walking in between.
That’s a lot easier said than done, I know. It’s easy to say it’s possible to find Him in the midst of our brokenness, but it sure can be hard to actually do it. After the gentle whisper, Elijah still didn’t get it. He still felt alone and far from God, but God wasn’t done with Him. Despite Elijah’s brokenness, the Lord gave him a purpose and a plan, and He will do the same for you.
If you feel broken, alone, unworthy, scarred, bruised, unloveable, or not enough, you need to hear this. He sees you, He knows you, He loves you, and He is close to you. He has not abandoned you, and He will not abandon you. Psalm 34 says He draws near to the broken hearted and saves the crushed in spirit. The wounds you’re feeling will not last forever, I promise. Draw on His strength to get you through. He gives His strength in abundance, and He won’t leave you in this place forever.