Get back on track after running away?

How?

We get back on track by seeking God’s presence, and we wait in expectation to encounter Him. God will show up.

Dearest Reader,

When the weight of our wilderness becomes heavier than staying, like Forrest Gump, we begin to run, and run, and run.

When there is not enough strength left to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps, we are prone to run away.

Lean in; I want you to hear me well when I tell you, “I know running away.” Maybe you do as well.

Go with me to 1 Kings, chapter nineteen, and let’s follow another runner. 

Last week we followed Elijah when he ran away in fear, collapsed beneath a Broom tree, giving up, and asking God to let him die.

Then Elijah became afraid and immediately ran for his life. When he came to Beer-sheba that belonged to Judah, he left his servant there, but he went on a day’s journey into the wilderness. He sat down under a broom tree and prayed that he might die. He said, ‘I have had enough! Lord, take my life, for I’m no better than my fathers.’” 1 Kings 19:3-4 (CSB)

Maybe you are not sitting under a broom tree, but, like me, you wrap yourself in a blanket with a carton of Vanilla Orange Dreamsicle ice cream, spoon in hand, binging on anything that will take you far, far away from your circumstances.

How does Elijah get back on track after running away?

Then he lay down and slept under the broom tree. Suddenly, an angel touched him. The angel told him, ‘Get up and eat.’ Then he looked, and there at his head was a loaf of bread baked over hot stones, and a jug of water. So he ate and drank and lay down again. Then the angel of the Lord returned for a second time and touched him. He said, ‘Get up and eat, or the journey will be too much for you.’ So he got up, ate, and drank. Then on the strength from that food, he walked forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God. He entered a cave there and spent the night.” 1 Kings 19:5-9a (CSB)

Elijah gets back on track through an encounter with God.

Suddenly, the word of the Lord came to him, and he said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He replied, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord God of Armies, but the Israelites have abandoned your covenant, torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they are looking for me to take my life.’

Then he said, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain in the Lord’s presence.’

At that moment, the Lord passed by. A great and mighty wind was tearing at the mountains and was shattering cliffs before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper.” 1 Kings 19:9b-12 (CSB) (bold emphasis mine)
The Wiersbe Bible Commentary says:
“Elijah made the cave his home and waited upon the Lord.”

For the second time in this passage, God asks Elijah, “What are you doing here?”

When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Suddenly, a voice came to him and said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’I have been very zealous for the Lord God of Armies,’ he replied, ‘but the Israelites have abandoned your covenant, torn down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left, and they’re looking for me to take my life.’
Then the Lord said to him, ‘Go and return by the way you came to the Wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive, you are to anoint Hazael as king over Aram. You are to anoint Jehuson of Nimshi as king over Israel and Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel-meholah as prophet in your place. Then Jehu will put to death whoever escapes the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death whoever escapes the sword of Jehu. But I will leave seven thousand in Israel — every knee that has not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him.’” 1Kings 19:13-18 (CSB) (bold emphasis mine)
The truth is, Elijah was having a pity party. When I roll up in my blanket, pull out the ice cream, looking at anything and everything but seeking God; that is my pity party! 

How do we get back on track?

It’s easy to give up in despair. However, being obedient will lead us back to Him.

Dearest Reader, do not give up! Turn around and allow God to guide you just as he guided Elijah.

We get back on track by seeking God’s presence, and we wait in expectation to encounter Him. God will show up.

Let’s take note of several things we can carry over to our lives:

  • God saw Elijah run. God is omniscient: He has unlimited knowledge and awareness of all things. 
  • Just as God knew where Elijah was, He knows where we are and when we run.
  • When Elijah gave up, God showed up in the form of angels and food. 
  • He will show up for you and me.
  • He will provide.
  • God led Elijah deeper into the wilderness. 
  • Follow God to encounter Him.
  • God Gave Elijah further instruction.
  • Ask God to instruct you in your circumstances.
  • Wait on God.
  • Give Him what you can no longer carry on your own.
  • Continue seeking God even when you do not want to.
  • When we are at the end of ourselves, if we allow Him, God will lead us into deeper intimacy with Him.

1 Kings, chapter nineteen is a picture of God’s tenderness and patience in dealing with us when we are in the depths of despair and feel like giving up.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, when we are prone to self-pity, giving up and plopping down beneath our metaphorical broom trees would you please point us back to the path that leads us to a personal encounter with you!

Amen

I am here to encourage you, equip you, and guide you as you redefine your wilderness. You can comment below or send a private email to tlmashburn@yahoo.com.

Your Wilderness Guide,

PS: If you have been following my Instagram Stories, by now you’ve heard about the H.E.A.R. Method and H.E.A.R. Journal. I would love to have you join me on this journey. The H.E.A.R. Method of studying the Bible has taken me more in-depth than ever before! If you would like to learn more email me at tlmashburn@yahoo.com 

PS: My first book, Mornings In The Word, is available now. Order your copy today.

“There is no space to live well or love well, much less pursue the God who created us to be in fellowship with Him. We close the gap between what we need and what we want with more. Our spinning lives and broken hearts are empty while appearing full. We paste a smile on our face and tell anyone who asks we are okay while inside we are shattering a million different ways.” -Mornings In The Word