Reading my Bible this week I came across the story of the great Old Testament prophet, Elijah. I read of his great faith and courage as he confronted the 300 prophets of the idol Baal and challenged them to prove whose God was truly God.
They built an altar, placed wood on it and an animal to sacrifice. All day they prayed to Baal to send down fire from heaven and consumed the sacrifice. As they danced around the altar crying out and even cutting themselves with knives and swords, Elijah taunted them:
“You’ll have to shout louder for surely he is a god. Perhaps he is daydreaming, or is relieving himself. Or maybe he is away on a trip, or is asleep and needs to be awakened!
As evening came, Elijah took his turn. He dug a trench around the altar and had them fill four large jars with water and pour over the wood with the sacrifice. Three times he had them pour water over the altar until the wood and the sacrifice were saturated with water. It even filled the trench around the altar.
Then he cried out to the Lord of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob to send fire from heaven to consume the sacrifice and clearly show the people who was the true God. As fire fell down from heaven it consumed not only the sacrifice but also the stones of the altar and all the water in the trench.
The people cried out:
The Lord He is God! The Lord He is God!
They then joined Elijah in killing all the false prophets.
What a great victory! What an example of a man with great faith in God!
But the story does not end there. When the queen, Jezebel, heard that all the prophets of her false religion had been killed, she sent word to Elijah:
May the gods strike me and even kill me if by this time tomorrow I have not killed you just as you killed them.
What does this great man of courage and faith do? He runs for his life and hides in a cave.
As I read this I could not help but wonder how someone could have such faith and stand up to 300 false prophets and then run from a single woman. What happened to his faith? Where was his courage?
Then Sunday morning our guest speaker spoke about the coming year 2019. He pointed out that we might see great victories, prayers answered, problems solved. But in this life we might also see losses, prayers seemingly unanswered and more problems created than solved. What should we do?
He encouraged us to look back and remember all the times God had sustained us and brought though difficult times. He then asked us to list three times in our life when we knew for sure that God had intervened in our life.
Sitting with pen in hand, I found there were so many times God has intervened I did not know where to start.
I thought of the time when I was seven years old and there were some reported polio cases in our town. Earlier my class had been vaccinated for polio but I had a severe reaction to the first shot (there were a series of three shots at that time) and my parents were told I should not take the other two shots which meant I was not protected against the disease. One morning at school I went to the nurse complaining of pain in my legs and neck. Checking me for a fever, the nurse called my mother to come get me from school as I was running a high fever. Today my parents would probably have rushed me to the doctor’s office but they had no insurance and little money for doctor bills so they placed me on the couch, my mother gave me some aspirin and a cool cloth for my forehead. By the next morning the pain in my legs was worse and mother wanted to take me to the doctor. My dad asked that we give it one more day and if I was not better when he came home from work, they would take me to see the doctor. As the day passed my fever grew worse and my neck began to be drawn to my shoulder. I could not move it and the pain in my legs caused me to begin to cry.
In a panic, my mother called my dad at work and he said he would get home as quickly as possible and take me to the hospital. Fears of polio filled their minds. While waiting for my dad to get there we heard a knock on the door. Opening the door my mother found two friends standing there who apologized for coming by unannounced but said in their time of Bible study and prayer they felt led that they should come to see mother. They had no idea why.
When they saw me they asked if they could pray for me. As they prayed for me, the pain in my legs instantly stopped. After praying mother asked me if I could lift my head. I could and in a few minutes my fever stopped. Dad came home to find me sitting up feeling great.
Now a skeptic will say this was just a flute, or just mind over matter. But I know as a seven year old girl I did not have “mind over matter” ability and I know the pain was severe, the fever was high and they both left instantly.
My mind raced ahead to many other times when God intervened in my life. I would love to share them all but this blog would then become a book.
However if you are interested in how God intervened when I was receiving radiation for an advanced case of breast cancer, check out this post:
So – I asked myself: Am I like Elijah – forgetting all the moments of God’s intervention and His protection as I face a new problem? Have I so quickly forgotten His blessings in the past that I fear a new situation that requires faith and courage?
I think we all are like that. So quickly to forget – so quickly to worry and fret.
Forgive us Lord!
Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.
Let the whole world know what he has done.
Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.
Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.
Exult in his holy name;
rejoice, you who worship the Lord.
Search for the Lord and for his strength;
continually seek him.
Remember the wonders he has performed,
his miracles, and the rulings he has given,
you children of his servant Israel,
you descendants of Jacob, his chosen ones.