3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there…
9-10: 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.” 1 Kings 19:3; 9-10
“I am the only one left.” Have you ever felt this way? Completely alone, isolated, afraid. Here in 1 Kings 19, we find Elijah in this state. He is at a very low place. He has run away from community and finds himself separated from others. His internal dialogue and physical isolation have led him to a place of depression. Elijah has forgotten God’s provision for Him in the past. Now, Elijah feels defeated and discouraged. In the midst of his isolation, God asks, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
In my own life, I have often wondered how I got “here.” During my sophomore year of college, I went through a period of depression. I struggled to find the energy to face the day and I withdrew from others. I felt alone and afraid. I felt like I needed to be alone in order to heal. I didn’t want to let anybody in. I believed the lies that I was not valuable and no one loved me. I forgot the ways God had been faithful to me over the course of my life. Like Elijah, I chose to be in isolation. There is a difference between solitude and isolation. Solitude involves an intentional, set-aside time where we can be filled up by God and better prepared to engage with and love others. Isolation involves a decision to avoid others and not be known. By God’s grace, I was able to receive professional counseling in that time. Great friends and family also came alongside to help me through that difficult season. But that experience taught me that I can’t be healthy when I’m not in community. We need each other.
Looking back, I can see how my isolation led to a deeper place of depression. We were not designed to live this life alone. We were made to know and be known. We become healthier when we walk with others who are getting healthier, too. The enemy loves to get us alone, where we begin to believe the lies that we are unlovable and not valuable. Authentic community is beautiful, as godly men and women can point us to the truth. We can walk side by side in the midst of pain and discouragement, as well as joy and encouragement.
Today and this week, what would it look like for you to engage in the discipline of community and fellowship? Are there people in your life you could share deeply with? Could you get plugged into a life group or make a phone call to a friend? Take some time to pray for the Lord to provide a clear next step for you in this area.
By Billy Berglund