We are living in the most connected time in history. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Skype, Facetime…
Why is it we have an epidemic of loneliness coupled with a lack of vulnerability?
Depression, anxiety and stress are at all time highs.
We are desperate to be known, yet terrified of being discovered.
We are able to create a public face to be anyone we want to be.
This face is merely a cover story, not reality.
Loneliness, Isolation and Self-Pity are our companions.
We are not alone in this…and not without some biblical insight.
In 1 Kings 18, Elijah has the classic confrontation with the prophets of Baal. He challenges them to call down fire from heaven from their gods of wood and stone. When it is Elijah’s turn, he soaks his offering with barrels and barrels of precious water during a drought. God answers with fire from heaven, consuming the water and the sacrifice.
Now that is a story!
The next event shows his prediction that rain would come after several years of drought. Miracle number two!
This does not make the rulers of the day happy and they set out to kill Elijah in chapter 19. He must flee, even wishing for God to end his life. He ends up being supernaturally provided for. Miracle number three!
God then comes to him in a cave.
God comes with supernatural responses. He is not in the wind or the earthquake, rather it is with a quiet voice He speaks to Elijah.
“What are you doing here?”
Elijah says, “I have been very jealous for the Lord…and I even I only, am left and they seek my life to take it away.“
God answers him by telling him to anoint a new king of Syria and Israel as well as his replacement; Elisha.
- He does not comfort him.
- He does not reassure him that Jezebel will not kill him.
- He does not give him another miracle to confirm he is alright.
Elijah is lonely, isolated and walking in self-pity.
This was immediately after a supernatural victory followed by multiple miracles.
Elijah shows us that external success in life or ministry does not equal inner health.
Instead, God reminds him of a few things:
- There are others – “Go anoint Elisha”—you are not alone. Later he speaks of 7,000 faithful followers of God (19:18). I don’t think a crowd of 7,000 qualifies as “I , only I, am left.”
- Get your eyes off yourself – Go out and accomplish the next task. Break out of self-pity and get back in the game!
- There is a bigger picture and plan at work – Step out of isolation and see what God is doing.
Elijah felt alone when both Elisha and 7,000 faithful ones were around.
He had so isolated himself that in-spite of these incredible miracles, he essentially asked God to “kill me now” (19:4).
Many of us are like Elijah.
We are so consumed with the circumstances immediately in front of us, we feel lonely and isolated in even the most connected society.
Isolation is not just hiding in a cave alone, it happens in the midst of a crowd and a calendar full of activities.
It is a lack of honest and real relationships in which we can be vulnerable.
It is having friends that know the real story, not just the one we post on social media.
Our ultra-connected society can actually push us toward isolation.
What ways do you isolate?
Is there someone who knows these signs? Who can speak with a still small voice and help pull you out of it?
This article originally appeared here.