There are seasons in our Christian lives when we go through dry times. There are times when we are depressed, discouraged, disappointed or even have doubts in our faith in God. The Christian life is full of peaks and valleys, highs and lows.
Our spiritual growth is not always up and to the right. Each of us has set backs. Each of us faces sin and temptation. Each of us goes through challenging and difficult times. What do you do when you are going through a valley? What do you do when you are experiencing a spiritually dry time?
Today’s lesson comes from the life of the Prophet Elijah. You can read the story for yourself in the Old Testament book of 1 Kings, chapters 18 and 19. It had not rained in Israel for over three years. There was a drought in the land, and it caused a sever famine. The people of Israel had begun to worship the Canaanite storm god, Baal. They thought this false god could answer their prayers and relieve them from the drought. The Prophet Elijah calls out all the people of Israel and exhorts them to choose whom they are going to serve, the false god, Baal, or the Lord God Almighty.
The Prophet Elijah challenges the 450 prophets of Baal. He instructs them to prepare a bull on the altar for a sacrifice, and he will prepare a bull on the altar for a sacrifice. They will each pray. And the god who answer their prayers and sends fire down from heaven to burn the sacrifice, he is the true God. All the people of Israel thought this was a great idea. So, on top of Mount Carmel, the 450 prophets of Baal prepare their sacrifice. All day long they pray to their god. They dance around the altar, shout, pray and even cut themselves with swords. From morning until night, they pray to their god and nothing happens.
Then, the Prophet Elijah prepares his offering on the altar. He even soaks the sacrifice with gallons and gallons of water. He prays a simple prayer and as soon as the words leave his lips, fire comes down from heaven and consumes the sacrifice. All the people believe in the Lord God Almighty and turn their hearts back to him. Then Elijah prays, and God sends the rain. After three years, the drought is over, and Elijah has become a hero. He experiences a spiritual high on top of Mount Carmel.
A few days later, Queen Jezebel hears the news of Elijah defeating the 450 prophets of Baal. She was very close to the prophets, and she threatens to kill Elijah. Elijah runs for his life and escapes to the Desert of Damascus. He ends up laying down under a broom tree and telling God that he is ready to die. He’s depressed, discouraged and he has had enough. He is ready for God to end his life on earth and take him to heaven.
This is one of the most fascinating stories in the Bible. In a few days, Elijah goes from a mountain top experience, a spiritual high, to spiritual low. He goes from being “on top of the world” to wanting his life to be over. Now, this may sound weird, but it brings me much comfort that Elijah would have such highs and lows. If Elijah, one of the greatest men of God of all-time, went through spiritually low times, it makes me feel better when I go through a spiritually low time.
Maybe you are going through a difficult time right now? Maybe you are depressed or discouraged? Maybe you are tired, and you are ready to give up? What do we do when we are going through a valley in life? We do what Elijah does next. He gets up and travels to the mountain of the Lord, Mount Sinai. He goes to the mountain of the Lord to meet with God. He stands in the presence of the Lord, and he gives all his worries over to God. And on the mountain of the Lord in the presence of God, he hears God’s gentle whisper, his still small voice. And God gives the Prophet Elijah his next assignment in life. It’s not time for Elijah to die. God still has a purpose and plan for his life. He still has a work for him to do.
I’m not sure what you are going through right now. Maybe you are tired, depressed and discourage? Maybe you are going through a spiritually low time? My encouragement to you is to go to the mountain of the Lord and give it to God. Trust God with every area of your life and stand in his presence. Listen to his still small voice, and he will give you your next assignment in life. If you are still breathing, God is not done with you. He has a purpose and plan for your life and a work for you to do. The best way to get out of a spiritually low valley is to go to the mountain of the Lord. Run to God. Stand in his presence. Trust him with every area of your life.
Jonathan Howes has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Finance from Jacksonville State University and a Master in Divinity Degree from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the lead pastor for Graystone Church. Locations include the Ozora Campus: 1551 Ozora Road Loganville, GA 30052, the Walton Campus: 723 N Broad St Monroe, GA 30655 and the Oconee Campus: 1275 Lenru Road Bogart, GA 30622.
Phone: (770) 466-3159