One of my favourite Bible studies and character is Elijah. He is still considered to be one of the greatest prophets, who was equalled with Moses during the transfiguration of Jesus. While studying Elijah, one thing that remains in my memory - he was vulnerable; often referred as Elijah syndrome, which I do not agree with.
Elijah had done a daring act just before his fleeing act. He had single-handedly challenged Ahab the King, publicly displayed the power upon him, taunted the Baal prophets and executed them with the help of people, all four hundred and fifty of them. And to top that he ran ahead of Ahab’s chariot all the way to Jezreel, around 17 miles as per some estimates.
We don’t expect a prophet, after such a daring act, to flee. But Elijah fled. Was it Elijah the prophet, or was it the vulnerable human side of Elijah? I would like to think of it as latter.
In Bible most of the leaders are depicted as vulnerable human beings. That may look a bit disappointing, but I find it quite reassuring. Ordinary, sometimes helpless, people stepping up to the call and duty of God. That’s pretty encouraging.
Start from Adam, Abraham, Jacob, Moses, David and all the way to Peter - all went through times of anxiety and disappointment. David fought with Goliath whom the entire Israelites feared. He then went on to hiding from Saul, and expressed his concerns to God through psalms and prayers. We all know Peter’s story very well.
Though these champions of faith went through disappointing times, what is more important is that they returned. They became even stronger after they crossed the valley of despair. David’s psalms do not end with his worries and concerns. Those end with confidence, hope and praises. Through disappointing times, I remind myself with one of those verses.
“Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14)