So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, “May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them.” Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. (I Kings 19:2-3 NIV)
Elijah’s story in I Kings 17-19 is fascinating. Elijah was miraculously provided for by God, in I Kings 17:1-6, he participated in God’s provision for a widow and her son. Then in I Kings 17: 7-16, he prayed and raised her son from the dead. In I Kings 17:17-24, he participated in and witnessed God’s great triumph over the prophets of Baal on Mt. Carmel. And in I Kings 18:19-46, Elijah was at the pinnacle of his ministry, yet when Jezebel threatened to kill him, “Elijah was afraid and ran for his life,” (I Kings 19:3a). Why? Elijah had personally witnessed God’s incredible power to save, to provide, and to protect. Why was Elijah afraid? Why are we afraid? Shouldn’t Elijah’s and our past faith, our past witnessing of miracles and God’s past provision for us keep us from being afraid?
Jesus spoke to his disciples, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world,” (John 16:33). Fear is something we have to deal with while we are on this earth. But Jesus has overcome this world, Jesus has won the war, and we know the ending and where we will spend eternity. We will have difficulties and troubles and storms in this life. But – we can trust Jesus to be with us, to walk beside us, to guide us and to help us to not let fear keep us from doing everything God wants us to do. When we listen to our fear only, we fail to trust God. Fear tells us we are worth nothing, we are having no effect, our ministry is worthless and we might be better dead. Elijah felt this way, too (I Kings 19:4-8). But in I Kings 19:9-18, we look at the end of the story, God spoke to Elijah in a still, small voice. God assures Elijah he is valuable, this his ministry is not done, and he is not alone. Fear can prevent us from seeing our storm, ourselves, and our impact on others – from a Godly perspective.
If you struggle with fear, or with believing the lies fear tells you, perhaps this book may be a helpful resource: What Are You Afraid Of? by Dr. David Jeremiah. It has some good insights into how we can overcome fear with faith.