In your heart of hearts – the part that only you and God can see into – do you truly believe Him? I’ve been considering this very question all week. I can read through my old journals and see how and where God moved in a big way. Others have shared how God did miraculous things in their lives. Sooner or later some of us get to a place where we seem to “forget” what God has done and can do.
The Bible is full of stories that show us that God still is there for us – even when we forget. In 1st Kings 18 and 19 Elijah, acting fearlessly, called out and confronted King Ahab. He told him to bring the 450 prophets of Ba’al and 400 prophets of Asherah and all of Israel to Mount Carmel. Elijah openly challenged the prophets of Baal in front of all of Israel. In answer to Elijah’s prayer, fire from the Lord came down and burned the sacrifice proving God’s power and authority.
The next part is the place that makes me think ummmm. You would think after God moved in such a huge and physical way on Elijah’s behalf, he would be in awe of God’s power and truly trust God, at least for a few days. When Jezebel, Ahab’s wife, heard about Elijah she sent a message to him that she would kill him by this time the next day.
Elijah turned tail and ran. He was truly terrified. He disappeared into the desert and sat under a tree and told the Lord he didn’t want to live and asked to die. How is it that a man who acted so fearlessly and faced down almost 1000 false prophets, changed into a fear-filled coward so quickly? He had a shift in his thinking. And for whatever reason, Elijah’s mind “imagined” that God could not protect him from Jezebel. He did not believe God…
Even when we have learned about God’s grace and love for us – we still have shame, fear, or ____________ (fill in the blank) in our lives. Like Elijah, we forget what God has done in our lives and regress to more of an “imagined” way of thinking that is very pessimistic.
But guess what! God sent and angel to care for Elijah on two different occasions. Then God went out to meet with Elijah. God asked Elijah “What are you doing here?” Elijah told God of his fears and God didn’t yell or belittle Elijah. And God promised to pass by Elijah, He didn’t reveal himself to His prophet in the mighty wind, earthquake, or fire that Elijah saw. That would have really scared Elijah. But instead, God revealed Himself in a gentle whisper.
God does this for all of us. He meets us in our deserts and caves. He never embarrasses us or scorns us. He just calls to us gently, even when we aren’t paying attention. He asks us “What are you doing here?” “Do you believe Me?”
We can shift the way we think. In the “When the Pain is Too Deep” conference Darla France, the Executive Director here at LifeTouch, often talks about neural pathways in our brains and how we get into a habit of thinking about things in a certain way. Think about a forest, if you always walk the same way, you will make a path. If we always react a certain way, our neurons make a path in our brains. God designed us to be able to choose and change those pathways. Research by Dr. Curt Thompson, Dr. Daniel Amen, and many others prove this. We can start to choose to believe God.
“We are fearfully and wonderfully made… (Psalm 139:14)