Jesus frequently mentions the small number of people who will follow him as fully devoted believers. In the Sermon on the Mount, he mentions a narrow way that leads to life, and he says that few people find it. He tells his disciples that the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. After one of his sermons where he teaches about the bread of life, the crowds turn and walk away and only his handful remains to follow.
I remind myself of this fact of faith in those moments when I don’t feel like I fit in with the crowd. There are those moments when my ideas and opinions appear to run contrary to everyone else. I have experienced times when I refused to make my life all about money or children or sports and have felt all alone in my convictions. My heart sinks when people for whom I care leave me behind because they know I will not agree with their actions. Some days I feel like everyone I know has the same point of view and mine is so drastically different. There are times when I feel alone in my faith.
The story of Elijah in the Old Testament is a comfort to me. He has this mountain top experience where is literally able to call down the fire of God. Shortly after evil people set out in pursuit to kill him, he finds himself alone in a cave, and God speaks to him in a still small voice. That alone is a powerful story with all kinds of application for us today. Finally, Elijah says to God that all the Israelites have prostrated themselves to idols. Elijah feels all alone in his faith.
At that moment God says something that is unexpected. He tells Elijah that seven thousand people have not bowed their knee to the idol Baal or worshiped him (1 Kings 19:18). One historian says that means 99% of Israel had allowed idolatry into their life. Roughly less than one percent of all the people in Israel had not bowed down in the worship that God abhorred.
But that one percent was enough to encourage Elijah and help him to get up and serve the Lord again. He needed to know he was not alone. He did not need all of Israel to support him, but he needed someone.
Maybe today you need the same thing. You need to know that you are not alone. When you refuse to allow your life to be contaminated by the world, you are not alone. You may not have an overwhelming amount of support as a Christian, but be encouraged as there is someone out there fighting the same battles and living for God. You may not know them or see them every day, but they are still present in the world. There may be many people who truly follow Jesus, but there are a few. You are not alone.