FreerangeFriday: Let God take care of you in the Wilderness

by Lilly Lewin
ELIJAH Daniele da Volterra 001

By Lilly Lewin

If you’ve been following along with me this Lent,  you know that I’m pondering the Wilderness….considering both the good things about the wilderness like the beauty of Nature and the opportunity to hear from God, and also the harshness of the wilderness and the need to be prepared.  It was such a gift to get to be at Lake Michigan and walk through the forest and on the beach each day! The beauty of the Wilderness refilled my cup. It has been hard to walk the dog in my urban neighborhood with it’s trash and traffic noise. I’m being challenged and invited by Jesus to find him in the wilderness of the city too.

How have you noticed the Wilderness this week? Has it been in a positive or a negative way?

How have you experienced God’s presence? Take a few moments to thank God for this.

Dieric Bouts Prophet Elijah in the Desert WGA03015

Dieric Bouts Prophet Elijah in the Desert

Today we are reading and considering Elijah the prophet. He experienced the wilderness, actually he escaped to the wilderness after defeating the prophets of Baal and angering Queen Jezebel

1 Kings 19:1-18 The Message You can read this passage in other versions here.

Ahab reported to Jezebel everything that Elijah had done, including the massacre of the prophets. Jezebel immediately sent a messenger to Elijah with her threat: “The gods will get you for this and I’ll get even with you! By this time tomorrow you’ll be as dead as any one of those prophets.”

3-5 When Elijah saw how things were, he ran for dear life to Beersheba, far in the south of Judah. He left his young servant there and then went on into the desert another day’s journey. He came to a lone broom bush and collapsed in its shade, wanting in the worst way to be done with it all—to just die: “Enough of this, God! Take my life—I’m ready to join my ancestors in the grave!” Exhausted, he fell asleep under the lone broom bush.

Suddenly an angel shook him awake and said, “Get up and eat!”

6 He looked around and, to his surprise, right by his head were a loaf of bread baked on some coals and a jug of water. He ate the meal and went back to sleep.

7 The angel of God came back, shook him awake again, and said, “Get up and eat some more—you’ve got a long journey ahead of you.”

8-9 He got up, ate and drank his fill, and set out. Nourished by that meal, he walked forty days and nights, all the way to the mountain of God, to Horeb. When he got there, he crawled into a cave and went to sleep.

Then the word of God came to him: “So Elijah, what are you doing here?”

10 “I’ve been working my heart out for the God-of-the-Angel-Armies,” said Elijah. “The people of Israel have abandoned your covenant, destroyed the places of worship, and murdered your prophets. I’m the only one left, and now they’re trying to kill me.”

11-12 Then he was told, “Go, stand on the mountain at attention before God. God will pass by.”

A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn’t in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper.

13-14 When Elijah heard the quiet voice, he muffled his face with his great cloak, went to the mouth of the cave, and stood there. A quiet voice asked, “So Elijah, now tell me, what are you doing here?” Elijah said it again, “I’ve been working my heart out for God, the God-of-the-Angel-Armies, because the people of Israel have abandoned your covenant, destroyed your places of worship, and murdered your prophets. I’m the only one left, and now they’re trying to kill me.”

15-18 God said, “Go back the way you came through the desert to Damascus. When you get there anoint Hazael; make him king over Aram. Then anoint Jehu son of Nimshi; make him king over Israel. Finally, anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Anyone who escapes death by Hazael will be killed by Jehu; and anyone who escapes death by Jehu will be killed by Elisha. Meanwhile, I’m preserving for myself seven thousand souls: the knees that haven’t bowed to the god Baal, the mouths that haven’t kissed his image.”

What is God speaking to you about TODAY as you read/listen to the passage?

What do you notice that you haven’t noticed before?
What questions do you have? What questions come up as you read the passage?  Talk to Jesus about these things.

What are the invitations from Jesus to you?

“Everyone is nicer after a nap and a snack” Lilly Lewin

When you are in the wilderness places, feeling burned out and tired, you need to know that God is still with you. You need to know you are provided for too!

You need rest
You need nourishment
You need to know that you are not alone in your struggle.
What are you in need of right now? Talk to Jesus about this.

The Wilderness inside ourselves….do we know who we are and who we are called to be?

Talk to God about where you are.

Are you overtired?
Burn out? Or too busy ? Are you feeling anxious or scared? Are you feeling depressed? How can you take time to REST this week? Allow God to restore you. REST

How can you create a BROOM TREE spot in your home or office as a place to rest?

Place a broom in the corner of your home, or somewhere where you will see it regularly as a reminder to take time to rest! And when you use your broom, ask Jesus to show you what you need right your wilderness…rest, a snack, reminders that you aren’t alone….

It’s March 2024…and it’s the 4th anniversary of the Covid lockdown. It was on March 11th that the World Health Organization called Covid 19 a pandemic.

You may notice that you feel anxious, or tired or achy. Your body holds the memories of this tragic time and all the drama since. Allow Jesus to hold this for you. Give yourself permission to rest more or do more things that bring you joy this month. Pay attention to yourself.

“The story of Elijah’s angel in the desert comforts me when the journey seems too much. I know what it is to be exhausted and depressed; angels of God have sustained me. I too want bread of heaven to feed me for a long journey to the “mount of God” (1 Kings 19:8).

I admire Elijah’s courage at Mt Carmel, but am unsettled by his slaughter of adversaries. Elijah later appears with Moses on the mountain of Transfiguration, talking with Jesus (Matthew 17:1-8). What did Jesus, who rejected violence, say to the fiery prophet?”

Pastor Nelson Krayball

READ Pastor Nelson Krayball thoughts on Elijah and PTSD

Just like the Lenten season of 40 days, Elijah had to go on a 40 day journey. He was invited by God to learn how to listen and hear from God again. How are you needing to hear from God right now?

My friend and Spiritual Director Beth Slevcove says that Elijah’s journey in the wilderness is like a pilgrimage, or a labyrinth. He went through the wilderness and then met God in the cave( like the center of the labyrinth) and then Elijah had to walk back out into the wilderness the SAME WAY he had walked in!  After hearing from God in the whisper and experiencing God’s power in the thunder and the earthquake, Elijah was refreshed and empowered to go back through the wilderness and back to his life and ministry! And he was reminded that there were 7000 people to help him keep fighting the good fight. HE WAS NOT ALONE!

As we enter the midpoint of the Lenten Season, you may be feeling more frustrated than free, more disconnected than connected to God, or perhaps you feel like your Lenten Journey is just getting started.

Where ever you are today, it is perfectly ok. You are greatly loved. You are held in the palm of God’s hand! Let God take care of you! Take time this week for nap and a snack and listen for the whisper of God. Let Jesus surprise you in your wilderness with the wildness of his Love!

Main photo Elijah in the Desert 1543-1547 byDaniele daVolterra


©lillylewin and

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