Committing ourselves to the Jesus way does not mean that we will be spared moments of crisis —moments when we are filled with fear and paralysis. However, we must be prepared and make use of the spiritual resources that God has provided. Elijah’s experience helps us understand those resources.
God’s directions provide us with insight. God offers Elijah, and us, three specific spiritual resources: visioning, speaking, and acting.
God’s third instruction to Elijah is significant for us: Act on faith.
God tells Elijah to go back the way he came (1 Kings 19:15).
We cannot follow in the Jesus way until we act. Peter was transformed each time he acted on what he knew in that moment. Bit by bit, Peter’s actions of faith shaped and molded him into the true person God intended him to be—when he stepped out of the boat at the call of Jesus during a storm (Matthew 14:22-33; when he declared Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of the living God, at Caesarea-Philippi (Matthew 16:13-19); and when he began to preach to the crowds of Jerusalem (Acts 2:14-42).
Holy Spirit power flowed though Peter when he acted on what he knew—offering the love of the resurrected Christ to all those who had rejected the earthly Jesus. Peter did not need to know it all, but he did need to act on whatever he knew at the time; and when he did so, his life was transformed.
To follow Jesus up close, rather than at a distance, we must base our lives on the reality of faith rather than the reality of fear. We serve an awesome God, a God whose promises are steadfast and whose presence, while unseen, is everlasting. When we keep that vision of faith before us, when we declare our faith aloud giving it a life of its own, when we act on whatever faith God has provided us in the moment, we move to Jesus’ side; and we are able to walk with him in intimacy and power.