Be Careful What You Ask For

By Rev. David Wilson Rogers |  February 1, 2014

            Be careful what you ask for because God may just let you have it. The real question is, do you have what it takes to handle all that you ask for?
            Elijah learned this lesson the hard way. One of the giants of faith, Elijah’s story illuminates the pages of scripture in First and Second Kings. His story is one of triumph and doubt, faith and reassurance, fidelity and redemption.
            The prophetic witness of scripture is a rich legacy of the faithful speaking truth to power. In this way, Elijah stood before King Ahab and his pagan queen Jezebel and proclaimed God’s priority for worship, faithfulness, and fidelity over the paganized practices of the corrupted kingdom. For his efforts, he was banished and hated.
            Ultimately, in a massive show of Godly power unlike anything that had ever been seen in his day, Elijah proclaimed a supernatural showdown. He called the priests of Ba’al and the pagan leaders of all that was opposed to God in Israel and had them build an altar to their gods. Right beside this pagan altar, Elijah also built an altar to God.
            There, atop Mount Carmel in Israel, the priests of Ba’al tried in vain to call on fire from the gods to consume their offerings. Taunted by Elijah, they evoked every incantation they knew, yet found only disappointment and failure. Then, in a bold acclimation of God’s power, Elijah called on God to show himself in unmistakable majesty and supernatural power. Without a doubt, God not only showed up, God made a statement. With a profound display of Divine supremacy, God sent fire from heaven that simultaneously consumed both altars and befuddled the entire priesthood of Ba’al. Ultimately, Elijah would destroy every one of them in a final testament of God’s superiority.
            In spite of getting God to do exactly what he asked for, Elijah was then cast into an unbelievable depression. Angered by God’s clear and unmistakable victory, the queen unleashed her demonic venom against Elijah with a fury that sent him into hiding and brought him to the verge of suicide. God was not finished with Elijah though. Roused out of his psychotic slumber and depressed desire to die, Elijah was called to journey forty days to the Mountain of God and meet God for new orders. Yet even then all Elijah could do was whine to God about how alone he was in the great big, ugly, and evil world. “Nobody cares about you any more God,” was Elijah’s compliant. “Everyone else has compromised the true faith and I alone am left, but I just don’t think I can continue to live in a world where nobody else loves you but me, God.”
            When the trials and struggles of faith get us down, it is easy to feel as alone as Elijah. When the world we once knew is frighteningly fractured and decidedly different than what we would have desired, like Elijah, we are faced with a challenge. We can complain to God how alone and let-down we are or we can listen to God for where to go next. Fortunately, Elijah did not stop with the whining. He heard God’s call and got back to work.
            God reminded Elijah that in spite of how he felt, there were 7,000 others in the land that were still true to God and all that Elijah held dear. God commissioned Elijah to get back into the world he feared and get back to the job of speaking for God.
            Elijah got what he asked God to grant but it was, at least at first, more than Elijah could take in. yet, the witness of Elijah reminds us that when we remain true to God, even when things seem frighteningly overwhelming, we have the opportunity to rise above the troubles of this life and live for God in new and powerful ways!