How God helps us to help others
Elijah loved God and wanted others to love him too.
But after many failed mission trips and fruitless evangelism, he gives up. He’s living in a desert, hungry and depressed.
‘I’ve had enough, Lord,’ he says. ‘Take my life’ (1 Kings 19:4).
God doesn’t take his life. But the way he helps Elijah will help us to help others.
First, God tells Elijah, ‘Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you’ (1 Kings 19:5). He provides bread and a jar of water.
People have many different needs. They may need a cup of tea or a sandwich. They may need help to get a good night’s sleep.
There isn’t always a neat divide between spiritual and physical needs. But God meets both.
And so should we.
After Elijah has eaten, God asks, ‘What are you doing here Elijah?’ (1 Kings 19:9). The all-wise, all-knowing, sovereign Lord then listens to Elijah’s response.
We may think we have the solution for someone. But if God listens – who definitely had Elijah’s solution – shouldn’t we listen before we talk?
And then, God speaks.
‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by… And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.’ (1 Kings 19:11-13)
What helped Elijah continue his work was the quiet reminder of God’s presence.
A friend going through a hard time told me recently he’s not after solutions but someone to walk with him.
While simply being with someone isn’t a rescue, it really matters. Because walking with people reminds them that God is walking with them.
And during hard times his presence not only brings life but promises rescue.