By Adam Lee
1 Kings 19:1-18
It’s the beginning of a New Year! For most, that is an exciting prospect, either because of big plans and exciting dreams for the year ahead or maybe from the relief of putting old trials and hard times behind. A new year can be intimidating though if those trials are persistent and you can’t see a way to be free of them. Maybe it’s been so long since you felt hopeful about anything that a fresh start seems impossible, new year or not.
After being a part of a great victory for the Lord over false prophets, Elijah felt defeated, hopeless, alone, and afraid for his life. Running away, hopeless, and tired, Elijah went off by himself, and cried out to the Lord that he would rather just die! However pathetic or desperate, the key is that Elijah turned to God. God hears our prayers to him and knows our needs. He responds to Elijah’s cry, not by giving him the way out that he asks for, but by letting him be tested again. It may sound like a big speech, but Elijah whines and cries to God about how alone he feels, how unfair all his suffering is, and how much danger he is in! Does this surprise God? Of course not. All along, God has a remnant of his people who are faithful to Him; he has a plan for changing the leadership of the country of Israel and its neighbor Syria, and a plan to replace Elijah.
Whether this New Year is feeling hopeful and exciting or dreary and foreboding, God is in control and He knows what He has in store for you. Peter writes to believers saying “Do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12). James directs us instead to “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you face trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness” (James 1:1-2). We can trust the promise in Scripture that “in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us” (Romans 8:37).
As you spend time this month fasting, whatever that looks like for you, be sure make time to be alone and listen for the Lord to speak to you. Be ready for him to speak to you clearly, in prayer and from his Word, the Bible. Don’t believe the lies that the world, your flesh, and the devil will tell you to defeat you. The victory has been already won! God is drawing you to him, and he has a plan to get you there. Are you ready for the road to be rough? Have you trusted the work of Jesus and the hope of new life to get you through? Or are you striving and working to be good enough? Rest, even in difficulty, in the promises of God.