Elijah fled in fear when he learned that the evil queen, Jezebel, had vowed to kill him for speaking God’s word against her. In a wild frenzy, Elijah ran, had a little freak-out moment, cursed his life, and then hid in a cave. Despite his frantic reaction, God remained calm. God found Elijah in the cave and then gave him the opportunity to vent, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”, even though God clearly knew why he was there.
I’m pretty good a full-blown freak-outs from time to time. I’ll bet you are, too. All of us deserve to let out our pent-up anxiety once in a while. What matters most is how we handle our freak-outs. Do we turn them outward, blowing up at anyone and everyone that crosses our path? That might not be good for our relationships. Do we turn inward, stuffing our anxiety with food, alcohol, drugs, shopping, gambling? That might not be good for our physical, emotional, and spiritual selves. Do we bring our anxiety to God? Yes! That’ll do it! For me, bringing it to God doesn’t mean I hide in a cave and wait for God to find me (although that worked for Elijah, so give it a try if you must). For me, bringing it to God means talking it over with my BFF. We meet every week for breakfast, lunch, or a walk. We talk. We laugh. We cry. We pray. We give it to God, and God never fails us.
Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done, and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, ‘So may the gods do to me, and more also, if I do not make your life like the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.’ Then he was afraid; he got up and fled for his life, and came to Beer-sheba, which belongs to Judah; he left his servant there.
But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: ‘It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors.’ Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, ‘Get up and eat.’ He looked, and there at his head was a cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and lay down again. The angel of the Lord came a second time, touched him, and said, ‘Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you.’ He got up, and ate and drank; then he went in the strength of that food for forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God. At that place he came to a cave, and spent the night there.
Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’