On Mother’s Day our family for the first time visited the place in the woods where Elijah perished. Many have asked us about the experience. In short, it was emotional and difficult. And something very unusual happened.
As a reminder, Elijah died the day after Thanksgiving. He was having some sort of breakdown, and we made a call to 911 for help. He became afraid and ran away into the woods. When he reached a clearing, he laid down and fell asleep. He died of hypothermia. For two weeks his body lay undiscovered in the hundred acre woods behind our home.
One of the last things Elijah wrote was how he had grown to love his name. He saw many similarities in his own life and that of the Prophet Elijah. At his funeral, I referenced an abbreviated part of scripture from 1 Kings 19 that he and I frequently studied together.
Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba, he went by himself a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.
Seven times the police were sent back to search. The seventh time they reported that they had found him.
The police gave us the GPS location where they found Elijah. We had scheduled Mother’s Day because we were all together as a family, but the day was cold, overcast and windy. As we hiked through the woods with Elijah’s little dog Puff, we stopped almost breathlessly at the place where he died. It was on the edge of a very private and secluded clearing surrounded by hills and trees. It was a very peaceful place.
Isaiah planted a young tree in his brother’s memory. As we gathered around the tree, teary-eyed and speechless, someone suggested that we pray. I started praying, and at that very moment it began raining pretty hard. My mind was flooded with conflicting thoughts as I prayed. I wondered if this was some divine sign that God shared our tears at that moment. I wondered if I should hurry so that we could start the long hike back through the woods. But I simply finished the prayer with an emphatic “Amen!”
As I said amen, the rain abruptly stopped just as quickly as it had started. We didn’t see it rain again until later that evening.
None of us knows why the rain came as hard and as quickly and as briefly as it did during that prayer time. We are convinced that the rain event was most meaningful to our family, even though I am sharing it with those of you reading this. But as we talked about it later, we marveled at how thin sometimes are the spaces between the physical world and the spiritual realm.
And then there is this. God told the Prophet Elijah that He would bring rain to end the long drought. Elijah climbed to a private place and told his servant to look for a sign of rain, but the servant reported that there was nothing there.
Seven times Elijah said, “Go back.” The seventh time the servant reported, “A cloud as small as a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” (1 Kings 18:43-44)
And then it rained.
Please ‘like’ and ‘share’ this post as you find it helpful and inspiring. Thank you.