As I write this, almost 40% of the American population are in lockdown-mode. Governors in several states have ordered the closing of schools, restaurants, bars, clubs, and other public gathering spaces. And even with the modern phenomenon of online social networking, we’re all getting lonely, and we’re not sure when or if life will ever return to normal social interaction again.
If you’re staying at home, self-quarantining to slow the spread of coronavirus, you’re probably very tempted to binge watch all the things available on a dozen different streaming services. And it’s certainly okay to find ways to entertain yourself. Unless that’s all you do. But if you have a personal relationship with God, don’t miss that these kinds of seasons can be rich with spiritual growth.
The Prophet Elijah began his ministry with an announcement to the freshly anointed, evil King Ahab. There would be a drought lasting more than three years throughout all the land of Israel. That’s a big assignment for a young prophet. And what came next?
Three years of self-quarantine.
Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah: “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan.
~ 1 Kings 17:2-3 NIV
Camping by the brook was probably a nice little vacation, until the drought took its expected effect, drying up the brook and surrounding food supply. So God ordered a raven to feed Elijah, bringing him enough scraps for his survival.
Some time into the drought, Elijah got to spend some time with a widow and her son, leaning on them for provision. Elijah saw God’s miraculous intervention in their shortage to supply them oil and flour through the duration of the drought. He also raised her son back to life when he died.
For three years, Elijah ministered to only two people, and yet he saw two powerful miracles during that time. His three years in hiding and self-quarantine wound up being a catalytic moment for boosting his faith in what God was capable of doing. When it came time for Elijah to face the world (and Ahab and Jezebel) again, he was ready for anything, and God showed up powerfully.
When you’re in a season of being locked down, look up. Pray. Read. Meditate. Sit silently and listen for God to speak. Listen to praise and worship music. Write and journal. And see how God shows up.