Our world has moved from skepticism to all out hostility against faith in Jesus. That is, until Jesus touches their life directly. But sometimes even small miracles are refused. It is an "I'll believe it when I see it world" and hearts are getting harder. People want proof in the same manner in which science offers proof. They want conclusions drawn from observation and experimentation. However, they don't just want to see the experiment, they want to experience it.
It is like the widow with Elijah. Times were hard. The drought was hard. Israel had completely turned their back on Yahweh. They were being controlled and manipulated by evil king after evil king. These were truly evil days. So when Yahweh sent Elijah to the widow there was no surprise that faith was not a way of life.
Elijah asked the woman for some bread and when she said that she did not have enough the Lord did a miracle through Elijah. Because the Lord was taking care of his prophet he blessed this widow and her son so that the man of God would be provided for in this drought. Yahweh did not allow the flour or oil to run out as long as there was drought. Maybe this miracle softened the heart of the widow but it did not win her over. It wasn't until Yahweh met her in her tragedy and responded to her need in a way not seen before that she began to believe the man of God.
The widow's only son became ill and died. This was tragic on so many levels because this son was her future. He would look after her in her old age. Without him she had no one to provide for her. This was not even to consider the connection of love between the two. But in her grief Yahweh reached in and did something she did not expect:
And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the house, and gave him to his mother. And Elijah said, “See, your son lives!” (1 Kings 17:23)
Now remember that Yahweh had already been doing miracles in her life but here was something that could not be explained away. So she responded:
Then the woman said to Elijah, “Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is the truth.” (1 Kings 17:24)
We are living in a world where words alone will not persuade them. You may have the plan of salvation memorized and know twenty ways to refute the arguments of an atheist, but words alone will not prevail against the hardened hearts of this age. They are looking for the power of Yahweh to lend credence to your words. Do we have the boldness of Elijah to pray believing for miracles? The Scriptures say that he was a man just like us, just a normal, everyday kind of guy. But he had faith. Be believed. He listened and acted on Yahweh's word. He looked around and was moved by compassion.
The world is not impressed by the size of your church. It is not impressed with your nice clothes and your great education. The world is not impressed by your fine sounding arguments. The world is certainly not impressed by our music and great organization. However, those hearts may be melted by a people who lived, worked, breathed by faith. They might be melted by direct intervention in their trouble and sorrow. They might be impressed and listen to your words when they see the power of Jesus Christ flow through us and into their situation. But will we believe? Will we act? Will we trust? Will we go?
What is the spirit of Elijah? Faith and obedience that drives us to take action. That's what the world is looking for, a people who allow their God to be glorified through them. Our words will not change them. Our songs will not move them. But the power of Jesus Christ can transform them. Will you be his Elijah today?