If you have ever felt lost in a cave of despair and discouragement, then this message is for you. Sometimes, things happen; life doesn’t always work out; you may be recompensed evil for the good that you have done, or so you think, but God has a way of using that evil to make it for good. Listen to the music for today from the GAAA Concert Choir and the Oakwood University Aeolians at the end of this message.
By Sylvan A. Lashley
1 Kings 19:9—“And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, ‘what doest thou here, Elijah”?
The dramatic rescue of the Thai boys and teacher from a cave, 2.5 miles into the earth, riveted global attention to the cliff-hanging rescue details. Having exultantly trekked into the cave for one purpose, an unexpected crisis developed.
Back in the day, Elijah had a similar experience. He was on a high when he destroyed the prophets of Baal on an exultant holy mission, but a problem developed soon after when Jezebel threatened. Elijah ran headlong into the wilderness, slept under a juniper tree, ate twice, and continued running for 40 days to a refuge in the deep caves of Mt. Horeb. It was here in the depth of suicidal despair that God calls out to him twice, with the rhetorical question, “What are you doing here Elijah”? The first time around, Elijah repeats his exploits—God lets him vent (v. 9). By the second time the same question comes around, Elijah has learnt to pause and listen for God’s still, small voice (v. 13).
You’ve been on some mission, at the height of seeming success when some shadow crosses your path, and you spirt sinks low. You start running to find some defensive shelter, probably emotionally and psychologically. It is when we are at our deepest depth of deadly and despicable despair, sunken into the cave of your own inequities, fears and tribulations, that God calls out, “what are you doing here my friend?” God calls us out to leave the cave, in a still small voice, and gives us a new lease on life.
As the Navy seals brought those Thai boys to the surface, so can God bring us out of the cave in times of stress. He questions us, not because He needs answers, but for the purpose of our deep thought and reflection. Whereas at first he calls us from the back of the cave, He will always call again at the front of the cave.
Today, we ask the question, “What are you doing here in this corner sulking, feeling sorry for yourself?” Get up and go for God has blessed your efforts. “Reverse your steps from where you have come, and I will give you a new mission, a new direction and a new spirit”. So whether it is a committee or position or post-heroic depression, and you find yourself lodged in the caves of Horeb, “fret not thyself, but trust in the Lord, for He shall bring it to pass” and rescue us from that cave. He is our mighty fortress.