And the LORD said to him, “Go, return on your way to the wilderness of Damascus” (1 Kings 19:15a).
It’s a bad day when one is called to be a prophet. Isaiah was sent to an unresponsive people (Isaiah 6:9-10). Jeremiah was told he would face stern opposition, God warning him “Do not be dismayed by them, lest I dismay you before them” (Jeremiah 1:17). The book of Ezekiel bears testimony of the myriad of ways Ezekiel was called to suffer for the sake of his prophetic call.
So also with Elijah. Called to speak to a nation fallen into idolatry, a nation ruled by the idolatrous King Ahab and his wicked wife Jezebel, who was systematically destroying the prophets of the Lord, Elijah spoke the Lord’s word to Israel. For that is what prophets do. Refusing to speak what itching ears want to hear, they speak the Lord’s word to a rebellious people. And that word is often costly. Immediately after the dramatic manner in which he proved to Israel that the Lord was God, Elijah, feeling alone and in despair, found himself running for his life from Jezebel. What does the Lord do? He feeds Elijah, and then tells him to press on.
In the end, the church is called to be a prophetic voice in the world. And her ministers are called to be a prophetic voice in the church. And, because our world isn’t really any different than the world of Ahab and Elijah, that means that faithfulness to our calling will be costly. This is especially true in matters pertaining life, and most especially unborn life. For a high-profile example, see the fierce opposition and legal trouble brought against David Daleiden for exposing Planned Parenthood’s trafficking in fetal remains. Defending the fatherless and pleading for the widow are certain to bring the wrath of world. And sometimes wrath within the church.
How do you think the Lord responds to the church, and especially her ministers, when we encounter such opposition, and are tempted to despair and feeling alone? I suspect He does the same thing as He did with Elijah—feeds us and tells us to press on.