Have you ever let fear determine your actions? Be honest with yourself; you probably have. Fear is a part of being human, but allowing it to control your every move is a problem. In college, there are a lot of uncertainties, and plenty to make you anxious about your future. Of course, it doesn't just stop in college. Fear is something that you will have to deal with throughout the course of your life. Kind of scary, right?
Not if you give it to the Lord. But how do we do that? It is so difficult to see the bigger picture in the moment, when you're worried about a future career, relationship, etc. Christians are called to give those kind of things to the Lord, but that is easier said than done.
Elijah had a similar problem. In 1 Kings 18, the prophet Elijah won a great victory. He trusted in God, and as a result he defeated four hundred prophets of Baal. It truly was a victory, as many people turned to the Lord on that day. But in the aftermath, the wicked Queen Jezebel threatened to kill Elijah.
1 Kings 19:3 says that "Then he (Elijah) was afraid, and he arose and ran for his life."
Elijah had just triumphed over evil as a result of trusting the Lord. Yet as soon as he was threatened by Jezebel, his first reaction was to run. And run he did, all the way into the wilderness, where he sat beneath a tree and called out to God.
"It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers" (v. 4). He literally asked to die because he was so exhausted and terrified of Jezebel. The Lord did not grant Elijah's request. Instead, he provided him with food and energy to keep going.
From there, the prophet fled to a cave, where he again hid. A voice came to Elijah while he cowered in the dark cave, and asked, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" (v. 9). This was the Lord calling out Elijah. He had been running away from his problems, and the Lord wanted him to realize his mistake. Elijah responded by telling him how he had been faithful to Him, but still was fearful for his life. The Lord told Elijah to go to the mouth of the cave.
Then something strange happened. 1 Kings says "the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind" (v. 11). Immediately following the wind was an earthquake; yet the Lord was not in that either. Another natural disaster occurred, this time a raging fire. The Lord was still not present in the fire. Then finally:
"And after the fire the sound of a low whisper" (v. 12)
A low whisper. Other translations say "a still, small voice." It is noteworthy that the text specifically says the Lord was not present in any of the gigantic natural disasters. Instead, he chose to speak to Elijah in a quiet and peaceful whisper.
To me, this was God demonstrating that bad things, chaotic and uncontrollable things, are going to happen in our lives: "For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust" (Matthew 5:45). But when everything seems to be crumbling and falling apart, God is still with you. He was always right there, but our fear sometimes deafens us from hearing Him.
After the exchange at the lip of the cave, the Lord gave Elijah more instructions. He got him right back on track, back to serving God. And he will do the same for us. We just need to listen.
Fear is inevitable. However, we can control how we respond to it and where we give our attention. Run to the Word. Pray, and not just once. Ask others for help and prayer. God is still there, no matter how crazy your life might be. Search for Him in the chaos and He will comfort you. Listen for that calming whisper, and rest easy knowing that He is with you.
Evan, Glad I'm not being chased by an evil queen