“I Only Remain”

Elijah was lonely.

After initiating a famine, he went into hiding, living in the wilderness with ravens bringing him food (1 Kings 17:1-7), and then traveling to the Phoenician city of Zarephath and staying with a poor widow and her son (1 Kings 17:8-9). After three years evading the servants of King Ahab, who had traveled everywhere looking for him (1 Kings 18:10), Elijah felt isolated. When King Ahab gathered the people at Elijah’s request, he said to them, “I, even I only, remain a prophet of the Lord” (1 Kings 18:22). Obadiah had just informed Elijah that he had rescued 100 prophets from the wrath of the king and the queen (1 Kings 18:4, 13). But Elijah apparently had no contact with those prophets, and he felt totally alone.

Shortly after, he fled for his life again, arriving at Mount Horeb. There, as he sat in a cave, God asked him, “What doest thou here, Elijah?” In response, he shared his sorrow: the people had turned from God and killed many prophets. “I, even I only, am left,” he said (1 Kings 19:10, 14).

God indirectly refuted his assertion by sending him to specific people: Hazael, the future king of Syria, Jehu, the future king of Israel, and Elisha, who would succeed Elijah as prophet. Then, He said, “I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him” (1 Kings 19:18).

Elijah was not as much alone as he thought. There were like-minded people out there, thousands of them, whom he could rely on and who had resisted the intense pressure from their society to abandon their faith.

The Book of Mormon prophet Nephi, who initiated a famine just like Elijah, felt similarly alone. Returning from missionary service to his his home in Zarahemla, he was horrified at the corruption which he saw everywhere. He longed to live in a time when people were receptive to the gospel, “easy to be entreated, firm to keep the commandments of God.” But instead, he said, “I am consigned that these are my days, and that my soul shall be filled with sorrow because of this the wickedness of my brethren” (Helaman 7:7-9).

But he was not alone. Just a few years later, there was a resurgence of faith, and Nephi worked alongside his brother Lehi to build up the church “throughout the face of all the land” (Helaman 11:18-21). Ten years later, a Lamanite prophet named Samuel came to Nephi’s city of Zarahemla, and the people who believed Samuel’s message flocked to Nephi asking to be baptized. (See Helaman 16:3-5.) God knew that there were people who would stand with Nephi, even though Nephi felt isolated for a while.

Today, I will be grateful that I am not alone. I will remember that God knows the hearts of all of His children, and that He is aware of other people who will support me, even when I feel like I’m on my own.

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