The God of Caves and Mountaintops

by A.C. Williams @Free2BFearless

Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors who have already died.” 1 Kings 19:4 NLT

Have you ever identified with a historical figure? Like, you read about them and recognize so much of yourself that it can’t simply be coincidence. You must have been born in the wrong century and separated from them at birth.

That’s how I feel about Elijah sometimes.

Not because of any great thing he did, but more because of his dramatic emotional kneejerk reactions (1 Kings 19). Elijah had just witnessed one of the most spectacular displays of God’s power ever recorded in Scripture. Then a single threat from a defeated, evil woman comes along, and what does Elijah do? He runs for his life and collapses in a heap and begs God to kill him.

I’m sorry. What? Who are you again? Did you not just witness the power of God up close and personal?

See, this is the part of Elijah’s life that I identify with.

I spent last week with the Lord, hearing from Him almost audibly. I saw Him working miraculously, answering specific prayers as though He had written down my every request on a list to personally fulfill. And the moment that miraculous week was over, all it took was one bit of bad news to send me spiraling into a pit of discouragement.

It’s an important lesson to learn and carry with us as we follow Jesus. We are the most vulnerable immediately after a great spiritual victory. Why? Great spiritual victories are exhausting. They often require a lot of emotional and mental fortitude. Just like battle, when you see the other side of any victory, you need rest. The enemy knows that, and that’s why he comes after us harder in those moments.

He throws things at us that he knows will trigger us. He pokes and prods at the dormant fears hovering just under the surface of our faith. And before you know what’s happening, you’re sobbing melodramatically under a broom tree begging God to end your life because it’s just too hard.

We would wise to remember how God handled Elijah during his little meltdown.

God got him to eat, drink, and rest (1 Kings 19:5-7). Then, God sent Elijah on a bit of a road trip that would eventually result in restoring his faith.

So where are you today? If you’ve just experienced a great spiritual victory and you’re still riding the high, hold on, because the valley is coming. It always does. If you’re already in the valley, feeling isolated and worthless, listen up.

The God who spoke to you in victory is still the God you run to in weakness. He hasn’t changed. His power isn’t made less because of the challenges you’re facing. His grace isn’t diminished because you’re struggling to trust it. He is, and always will be, everything you need, and if you don’t have an answer right now for what you’re facing, wait a bit longer. He will provide (Philippians 4:19), and He will fight for you (Exodus 14:14).

In the meantime, when was the last time you ate? Are you drinking enough water? Did you get restful, restorative sleep? Have you gone on a walk outside to marvel at His creation?

Fellow warriors, if Elijah needed these things, so do we.

When the valleys and the caves come—and they will—take care of your physical health so that you will have strength to obey the Lord. Above all else, don’t forget who God is. Whether you’re on a mountaintop or deep in a cave, He is the same.

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The God of Caves and Mountaintops – encouragement from A.C. Williams @Free2BFearless on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Finding Fireflies

About the author: A.C. Williams is a coffee-drinking, sushi-eating, story-telling nerd who loves cats, country living, and all things Japanese. She’d rather be barefoot, and if isn’t, her socks will never match. She likes her road trips with rock music, her superheroes with snark, and her blankets extra fuzzy, but her first love is stories and the authors who are passionate about telling them. Learn more about her book coaching services and follow her adventures on social media @free2bfearless.

Join the conversation: Do you identify with Elijah?

When God “Showed Up”

by Sheri Schofield

It was rodeo week in our Montana town during that a hot, dusty July. By the time Sunday rolled around, the children were exhausted by late nights of watching bull and bronco riders. I was teaching children’s church that day. The classroom was hot, so I took the children outside to the lawn, where I spread quilts on the ground under the towering shade trees. It was cooler, but not a breath of wind came to cool us. Within a minute, every child was laying down instead of sitting, and I could see their eyes drooping.

The story for the day was about Pentecost. “Lord,” I silently prayed, “these children need to understand your power! They need to know that the Holy Spirit can do great things through them! The children are sleepy. I need your help here!”

“Jesus had left earth and had returned to heaven,” I began. “He told those who followed him to go back into Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit to come. They did. They met together and prayed for days.” I looked around at the children. Ah! One child was almost asleep! Lord, help!

“Suddenly, the Holy Spirit came. He rushed in with the sound of a mighty wind!” I looked up into the trees and stopped talking. Are you there Lord? I asked. A quick wind stirred in the tree tops.

The children looked up, startled.

“Hm.” I said. “No, it wasn’t a gentle wind. It was stronger.” I kept looking up. Suddenly, a great burst of wind hit the trees, and the sound filled the air!

The children’s eyes popped wide open! They were all sitting up now, mouths open, staring up into the trees!

“Yes!” I exclaimed. “It was like that!”

I jumped up, “They each began speaking in a different language! Over here, someone may have said, ‘Buenos dias!’ That’s Spanish. Over there, someone said, ‘Guten morgan, kinder!’ That’s German.”

Moving around the quilts to different locations, I greeted the children in seven languages, each one different than the other, to give them a taste of Pentecost. I had their full attention now, for God had “shown up”! Not a child there doubted it.

How many times in our lives do we feel that God is not with us in our times of trouble? Do we pray without ceasing, hoping he will show up? Do we anxiously cry out, “Help! Help! Help!” and keep on worrying? Or do we cry out to God and then fall silent, looking up, expecting our heavenly Father to “show up”, to speak to our hearts?

Our Father has a hard time answering us if we’re busy talking! It is when we fall silent before him that we can hear his voice. When we are silent, the Holy Spirit rushes in like a mighty wind and declares, “I am with you! Don’t be afraid! Don’t be anxious!”

When I am anxious, I often reach for my Bible. In God’s love letter, I find peace. Sometimes, I go for a walk in the forest and breathe in the fresh air while I wait for his answer to my problem. I’ve told him plenty about it! Now I need to listen. In my expectant silence, as I wait on God, he fills me with joy and comfort. He puts new thoughts in my mind, a better way of dealing with the problems. I am not alone in my struggle. God always shows up! He will always be there for each and every one of his children.

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.” Exodus 14:14, NIV

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When God showed up – Sheri Schofield on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

sheri schofieldAbout the author: Sheri Schofield, an award-winning children’s author-illustrator and children’s ministry veteran of 40 years, has just released her new book, The Prince And The Plan, to help parents lead their children into a saving knowledge of Jesus. Sheri was named Writer of the Year for 2018 at Colorado Christian Writers’ Conference for her work in effectively sharing the gospel of Jesus. Her ministry, Faithwind 4 Kids, can be followed on her blog at her website, http://www.sherischofield.com. Questions welcomed!

Join the Conversation: When has God “showed up” for you?