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Valley of the Shadow
joyous, effervescent, happy, jazzed, energized, vivacious--are these words
that describe the Christian experience? Or do words like serious, melancholy,
contemplative, deliberate, pious, and thoughtful better capture the Christian's
spirit. Which song best characterizes the daily walk of the disciple, "I've
got joy, joy, joy, down in my heart," or "Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord
Elijah probably experienced
a rush of faith when he faced the prophets of Baal. The Children of Israel
tried to serve both God and Baal. The prophet of the Lord challenged the
prophets of Baal to a contest to show the people who they should serve.
The prophets of Baal could not call down fire from heaven, but Elijah could.
prayer did not rhyme. He did not use beautiful metaphors. It did not sound
like a litany, but God honored it! He stated his purpose: "Let it
be known this day that thou art God," his motive: "and that I
am your servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word."
Then, he gave his request: "Hear me O Lord, hear me . . . " (1
Kings 18:36-37) After this short, terse, humble prayer, God responded:
"Then the fire of the Lord fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice,
and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that
was in the trench." (1 Kings 18:38)
You would think that Elijah
would be flying high after this victory, but he wasn't. The next time we
catch up to him he is in the pit of depression: "Then he went on alone
into the desert, 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."
(1 Kings 19:4 NLT)
The Christian life is not
mono-dimensional. Our faith does not dissolve our anguish, nor does it
negate our personalities. It does, however, give us a context for our problems
and strength for our challenges.
God never promised that we
would bypass the "valley of the Shadow of death," but He did
say he would walk with us. Have you felt the touch of his unseen hand recently?