“And when he was come thither, he abode in a cave: and behold the word of the Lord came unto him, and he said to him: What dost thou here, Elias? And he answered: With zeal have I been zealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant: they have thrown down thy altars, they have slain thy prophets with the sword, and I alone am left, and they seek my life to take it away.” (1 Kings 19: 9-10)
After Jezebel sought revenge upon Elijah, he was “afraid” and fled into the desert. There he lamented, but God heard his cries. And the Lord spoke to Elijah and he knew that he had not been forsaken. God gave him new directions, and fortified with these commands, Elijay returned to the world and did as the Lord told him. And, in this, we all have much to learn: it is never shameful to flee away from the dangers of the evil one; especially when one feels completely overwhelmed and unprepared for battle; that its okay to cry out to Our Lord when we are frustrated and feeling abandoned; and, lastly, sometimes we are going to be just plain afraid. Only, this is not usual. For example, regarding St. Francis of Assisi: “In the clefts of the rock he would build his nest and in the hallow places of the wall his dwelling…He would go alone to pray at night in churches abandoned and located in deserted places, where, under the protection of divine grace, he overcame many fears and many disturbances of mind.” Therefore, when we are troubled or confounded, we must retreat, pray earnestly to the Lord, and be open to the Graces He will pour down upon us. Then, and only then, are we able to return to the outside world.