How has your life changed in the last week? For many of us, we are embracing a new culture of working from home, homeschooling our children, practicing social distancing or experiencing a formal quarantine in an effort to slow the effects of COVID-19 that continues to spread throughout our communities. It’s a new normal, but it’s different and sometimes scary.
One of the hardest parts of the new normal is the vast amount of time you spend alone. Even if you have roommates or a family, you may still find yourself experiencing some unusual alone time or just an eerie sense of solitude as walks around your neighborhood feel like a ghost town.
The quiet of the hour may be opening the door for some self reflection. And if anyone knows how self-reflection can bring you down from a high, it’s the prophet Elijah.
Elijah had just experienced the greatest of highs. He challenged the false prophets of Baal to a challenge: lay out two bulls on a pile of wood while the prophets of Baal called on their god and Elijah called on his God. He who lit the fire would be the one true God. Though the prophets of Baal tried and tried, a fire never started on their wood pile. But Elijah drenched his wood pile with water three times and called upon God once and fire instantly ignited. The prophets of Baal were defeated and the people turned to God.
But the king was displeased and threatened to kill Elijah so he fled to the mountain. He was so despondent he asked God to let him die. The great prophet who just witnessed the glory of God was now asking to die because he was alone and his circumstances seemed bleak. How often do we fall under the same discouraging murmurings?
Instead of giving in to Elijah’s depression, the Lord provided food for him every day for 40 days. Even still, Elijah could only focus on the negative: he was alone and the king was seeking to kill him. Then the Lord asked Elijah to go to stand on the mount:
“And behold, 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. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him.” 1 Kings 19:11-13
Sometimes, we expect God to meet us in our busy lives and speak with a mighty thundering. But often, he is the quiet, still voice that calms your soul if you take the time to listen to it.
This new normal of solitude can be scary, but remember that God provided for Elijah when he was alone and encouraged him to go back to the city and do a great work for him. God can be found in the quiet. Take advantage of this new normal and see God in the quiet and see what word he has for you.
“‘Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!’ The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.” –Psalms 46:10-11
Written by Aimee Freston, associate director of digital communications for Buckner International.