Monday, July 21, 2014

when the journey is too much

The last time I wrote, it was about how God sometimes speaks in the quiet, the passage in I Kings 19 where God chose to speak to Elijah in a whisper instead of in the power of the storm or earthquake.

Have you read the chapter before that recently? It's the one where Elijah challenged all the prophets of Baal and Ashera to a duel.

Really--an old-fashioned duel!
Only instead of guns blazing it was a duel of fire.

Well, it would have been a duel of fire, only the prophets of Baal and Ashera didn't have any fire to duel with. Elijah, on the other hand, had flames that God sent down, fire hot enough to burn up a bull, the firewood, all the water that had been poured over the altar, the 12 stones used to build the altar, and the soil the altar was built on.

Then, Elijah watched as all the people of Israel turned back to God. After that, he killed all 850 false prophets. And even after that, he told the king that rain was coming--even though there had been a drought for 3 years at the time. When the rains came, Elijah was given the amazing ability to run ahead of King Ahab's chariot, racing him to town.

Talk about a spiritual high! Elijah must have been in a whole different place mentally and spiritually right then. He was probably feeling pretty darn good about himself when he went to rub it in Queen Jezebel's face. He had just made fools of all her prophets and then had them all killed. In the face of all that had just happened, I imagine he figured Jezebel would have no choice but to repent of all her evil ways and turn to God.

But if that had happened, calling someone a "Jezebel" probably wouldn't have the negative connotation it does today.

Instead of feeling shame and remorse, Jezebel made Elijah a promise: she would kill him.

You would think Elijah would just laugh in her face. Or maybe call on God again, this time asking Him to knock her down a peg or two. Surely that would  have been easy to do. After all, God had just done some amazing things at Mount Carmel.

Elijah didn't laugh.
He didn't stand up to Jezebel.

We're told that he ran off, terrified.

I've been in that place before. Not the same, mind you--I've never taunted a group of 850 false prophets and then called down fire from God. For that matter, I haven't ever outrun a chariot.

I have, though, been in a situation where I experienced a spiritual high and then fell as suddenly as if I had walked off a cliff. Actually, I've had a few experiences like that in my life, times when the valley of fear and doubt seemed to swallow me and block even my view of the mountain top.

There are times when I've seen the amazing things God has done, then somehow it seems like I manage to forget about all of that in the split second it takes for things to go wrong.

I get overwhelmed by something that scares me, and suddenly I forget that God can--and will--take care of me.

I know it, or at least I know that I should know it.
The problem is, I have a trust issue:
I want to trust myself instead of Him.
I want to take care of things myself--that's the only way to know everything is going to get done...the way I want.

I have a stubborn tendency to forget that God's way of taking care of things usually isn't the way I would choose.

That's the same thing that happened to Elijah, and his valley was so low that he was praying to die. He cried out to God, "I have had enough, LORD," and then he crawled under a bush, kinda like an animal does when it crawls away to die.

You know what, though?
Even when we are at our lowest, even when all we can do is tell God, "I've had enough," God takes care of us. For Elijah, that came in the form of an angel who told Elijah to get up and eat, who gave him bread and water. The angel also told him something that, to me, is one of the best things to hear when you're overwhelmed: "the journey is too much for you."

Sometimes, the fact that someone else recognizes that what you're facing is just plain hard is enough to pull you through. For Elijah, it was enough to let him travel for 40 days and nights until he reached the mountain of God., the very mountain where God spoke to him in a whisper.

So take heart. God knows you're overwhelmed.
He knows things have been tough.
He knows that you've had enough, that the journey has been too much.

And He's still there, providing, no matter whether we remember or not. And if we follow Him, He'll lead us to a place where He can speak to us.

1 comment:

  1. Excellent! I think most Christians can relate to this. Thanx for sharing your life!


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