Fleeing for his life, Elijah has escaped into the wilderness. A messenger of God has provided food and water. After forty days and nights, he arrived at Horeb (the northern tribes' name for Mt. Sinai).
Elijah searches for God--in the wind, in the earthquake, in the fire, then finds God in the silence (or, as in some translations, in the sound of a soft whisper).
Elijah confesses, "I have done everything for God, but I give up. I'm the only one left. God's enemies are after me. They want to kill me."
God says, "Get on with the work I have assigned you."
The particular task that God has in mind for Elijah is to anoint a new king and a new prophet, Elisha. "They will finish the work that needs to be done."
When we are depressed that we haven't been able to do the job that needs to be done, we can remember that God has not left all the work to us--that there will be successors.