Sometimes God directs us to participate in difficult conversations.
Elijah initiated a famine by declaring to King Ahab, “There shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word” (1 Kings 17:1). Three years later, there was no doubt in Ahab’s mind that Elijah had caused the famine and that only Elijah could end it. Ahab had sent servants to every nation in search of Elijah but had come up empty-handed. Now, it was time for the famine to end, and the Lord said to Elijah, “Go, shew thyself unto Ahab; and I will send rain upon the earth” (1 Kings 18:1).
I’m just going to guess that Elijah was not looking forward to that conversation. Ahab and his wife, Jezebel, had murdered many prophets, and Elijah was not one of Ahab’s favorite people. Yet when Elijah received this instruction, there is no hint of hesitancy in the record. “Elijah went to shew himself unto Ahab” is the very next sentence (1 Kings 18:2).
This reminds me of Alma, who had been reviled, spat upon, and kicked out of the city of Ammonihah. Yet when an angel instructed him to go back, “he returned speedily” (Alma 8:13-18). Years later, when he needed to provide his son Corianton some corrective feedback, he said, “The Spirit of the Lord doth say unto me: Command thy children to do good” (Alma 39:12). On both occasions, he answered the call even though he knew the conversations would be difficult.
I’m sure most of us can think of conversations we dread, but which we need to have. I have found that postponing those conversations merely prolongs the agony. Very often, I feel much better after holding the conversation. The hardest part is often simply getting started.
Today, I will follow the examples of Elijah and Alma. When I know that I need to reach out and speak with someone, I will do so promptly, especially if I’m worried about the conversation. I will act “speedily.” I will not delay.