Elijah was a man subject to like passions as we are, James declares. After Elijah had called down fire from heaven and slain the Baal prophets he was scared witless when he learned that the evil queen Jezebel had sworn to kill him. He flew into the wilderness and found a cave wherein he hid himself.
His emotions swung from great joy over his accomplishments to fear, and then self-pity. Powerful emotions we all are subject to. It is not unlikely it was condemnation on account of the two latter passions that made him lament to God: I am not better than my father. However, God would use this incident to teach this righteous man a lesson about emotions.
God said to Elijah: Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. Then the record relates that God passed Elijah four times. First in the form of a strong wind, then an earthquake and the third visitation was that of a fire. The fourth and last was a sound of a gentle stillness.
God had passed Elijah four times, but God was only in the sound of the gentle stillness. Emotions are like earthquakes, strong winds and fire in our inner man. God says to Elijah: I am in your emotions, or perhaps even more precisely: I am your emotions. He continues: Even though I am your emotions they are not the place where you find the whole truth about who you are in me.
Emotions are a part of our human makeup. Like Elijah we need to learn that our emotions are magnificently created to manifest God, but we cannot put our trust in them when it comes to revealing the full truth about who we are. In the still, quiet and unvarying spirit center God’s ultimate truth is found concerning who we are as children of the Most High.
Emotions toss us to and fro, and they often claim to be the truth about us or a given situation. Classified in neat subcategories we label them as good or bad. There are feelings labeled as suitable for Christians and there are emotions which induce condemnation because they are labeled unholy or something to that effect.
Our emotions are not exempted from our union with God. He has filled the entire temple. Every nook and cranny is filled with Him. Elijah learned that emotions, both negative and positive, have a place in God’s scheme of things. Through this powerful and telling encounter Elijah further learned not to accept false condemnation on account of his emotions. They are purified in God and our Father tremendously utilizes our emotions, even those negative, to awaken us to Himself; that He comes perfectly through and uses everything we are for His redemptive purposes.
The last lesson learned by Elijah was that we do not live by seeing, but by faith. God miraculously purports everything in our lives to His glory. We cannot judge His impression on this world through us and as us based on our emotions. By faith we recognize that everything works together for good so that His redemptive purposes are always present and active in, through and as us.