Alone with God

1 Kings 17:20–22

Then Elijah cried out to the LORD “O LORD my God, why have you brought tragedy to this widow who has opened her home to me, causing her son to die?”

And he stretched himself out over the child three times and cried out to the LORD, “O LORD my God, please let this child’s life return to him.” The LORD heard Elijah’s prayer, and the life of the child returned, and he revived! (1 Kings 17:20–22)

Now wait a minute. What is going on here? Up to this point in Scripture, there has been no account of anyone ever being raised from the dead. The closest to that would be Enoch, but he was not resurrected or resuscitated, because he didn’t die. God simply took him to glory. “Enoch walked with God; and he was not, for God took him” (Genesis 5:24).

So what is Elijah thinking here? How does he dare ask God to do such an unprecedented thing?

Elijah could not go back through the record like some spiritual attorney and try to find another case he could point to and say, “Ah! Precedence recorded in the Scriptures—there’s a case like mine. God did it there. He will do it here.” But God never claimed to provide a written record of absolutely everything He has ever done. And I believe He has left the record incomplete, so to speak, so that we will not trust in the past but in the God who is fresh and alive and creative and real, able to meet today’s need today.

Elijah had no this-is-how-God-always-does-it manual to follow. Instead, he relied solely on one thing: faith. He had only his faith in the living God.

Don’t you wish at times that you had a book where you could look up “impatience”? Okay. “What to do when I’m impatient in the face of testing”: here are steps one, two, three, four, and five. And in case of severe emergency: six, seven, and eight. You’ve got the answer! Or, what to do when death comes: one, two, three, four. If it is the dearest friend you’ve ever known: five and six. If it is your own child: seven and eight. But there’s no such manual. Thankfully, in His Word God does include principles to follow in most crises, but not a precise procedure in all difficult or impossible situations. God leaves us on the cutting edge of today so that we will trust in Him and the principles in His great and gracious Word. That’s all we have. That’s enough.

Taken from Great Days with the Great Lives by Charles Swindoll. Copyright © 2005 by Charles R. Swindoll. Used by permission of HarperCollins Christian Publishing.

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Accuracy, clarity, and practicality all describe the Bible-teaching ministry of Charles R. Swindoll. Chuck is the chairman of the board at Insight for Living and the chancellor of Dallas Theological Seminary. Chuck also serves as the senior pastor of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, where he is able to do what he loves most—teach the Bible to willing hearts. His focus on practical Bible application has been heard on the Insight for Living radio broadcast since 1979.