A truck dealership is an odd place to have church. Yet that's what we found when my co-workers and I took in our vehicles for repair because of the damage inflicted by Mindanao's remotest roads. Once in the sparkling showroom, we noticed rows of chairs and a guitarist tuning up. Soon a couple dozen employees exchanged their work posts for worship.
After weeks of work in a rugged location devoid of any church, I craved the companionship of Christians. So when the believers began a praise chorus, I happily joined them. Living away from Christian community had left me feeling like a spiritual lone ranger. Perhaps you've been there too.
The prophet Elijah had been enjoying great success in his ministry. But in a moment, everything dried up. His is a fascinating story of spectacular triumph, suffocating despair, and God's ultimate sufficiency. Threatened by a queen hostile to the one true God, Elijah took her animosity personally and ran for his life. Alone in a cave on Mount Sinai, the very place where Moses had received the Ten Commandments, Elijah sulked. "I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty," he told God. And then he accused the Israelites of killing all of God's prophets. "I am the only one left," he said, "and now they are trying to kill me, too" (1 Kings 19:10).
But God knew that Elijah was far from alone. So He gave the perplexed prophet a fresh set of marching orders, and sent him back to work. He said, "I will preserve 7,000 others in Israel who have never bowed down to Baal or kissed him!" (v.18).
In Mindanao, I left a spiritually dry rainforest to find an oasis in the city. Elijah fled to a lonely place in the desert to find that he was far from alone. We never know where God will provide a spiritual oasis. , Tim Gustafson
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