In 1 Kings 17 Elijah is divinely sustained with water from a brook and food brought by ravens during a drought. The location and the sustenance was all given by God. This is what we would call SOLITUDE. Solitude can be defined as an intentional separation for the refining of our soul. This is us running TO God.
Solitude is necessary because we tend to substitute intimacy with God with busy-ness for God. The most important things found in solitude are the provision and presence of God! Notice that the brook dried up . . . solitude is temporary, and it is intended for us to find strength and direction to move on in obedience . . . not stay forever.
In chapter 18, Elijah is used by God for one of the great power/truth encounters of all the Bible. The prophets of Baal are supernaturally defeated by the power of God. Much could be said about letting our guard down after a great victory and when things seem like they couldn’t get any better . . .
In chapter 19, Elijah finds himself isolated in a cave. Unlike the current situation where we are mostly obligated to stay away from others because of Coronavirus, Elijah’s isolation was voluntary . . . self-inflicted. It was a spiritual and emotional isolation, not merely physical. He had just witnessed God use him in a supernatural way on Mt. Carmel, and now he is cowering in a cave because Jezebel had threatened his life.
This is what we would call ISOLATION. Isolation is what we crave when we neglect solitude. Isolation is running FROM God. Here are the four lies of isolation:
1) I am the only one.
2) Nobody understands.
3) There is no hope.
4) God cannot resolve this.
God ministered to Elijah in his isolation by giving Elijah a clear picture of himself, renewing his lost perspective, giving him a plan . . . (in other words, Elijah, get up and get busy . . . fear and self-pity are not the proper responses . . . we need active obedience to clear commands), and telling him to rely on people.
There is great joy in the presence of God, the provision of God, and in active obedience to his commands. Finding that joy begins with surrendering to him. May we all use our present circumstances as a time of solitude, not isolation. May God give us clear ideas and direction as to how to find great new opportunities within our new limitations.
There are people suffering more than you and people more at risk than you. It won’t be hard to find them, encourage them, and serve them.