Food for Thought

In 1 Kings 19 we find Elijah on the run.  He has witnessed an incredible number of miracles in previous chapters, but right now those things are a distant memory.  Queen Jezebel sent a messenger to let Elijah know that she had his number and he would be killed within the next day.  Even with all the times he has witnessed God’s provision, this lady got to him.  He fled the area with a servant, then left the guy and traveled another entire day by himself.  Elijah didn’t just have a pity party but a full on celebration.  He found a cave to hide out in and heard the voice of God asking what he was doing in no man’s land.  He responded with a string of whining phrases like, “I’ve done all this stuff for you Lord, where are You? Everyone has turned against You and I am the only one left.  Now they are trying to kill me too!”

There are a couple of things that struck me here:

1.      How arrogant of Elijah to think that if he were wiped out that would be the end of the mission to tell people about God.  But when we throw our personalized tantrums is that not the same kind of thing we say?  Newsflash!  We are part of the body of Christ, but again have to be reminded it is not all about us.  If we don’t carry out what God has asked of us, He is quite capable of using someone else.  That stings and is raw to hear, but we need it.  There is a lot to be said for humility!

2.     If God asks you, “what are you doing” that is probably a huge red flag we are not where we are supposed to be.   I’m not sure how much expansion I can provide there, I think that is pretty self explanatory.

Before Elijah found the cave he fell asleep under a tree.  An angel woke him up two times with instructions for him to get up and eat.  The second time the angel woke him up he added, “…for the journey is too great for you.”

Food for thought:

1.      Elijah had this really dramatic Scarlett O’Hara moment.  (Okay, so I am ad-libbing a little here, stay with me.)  He throws his arm to his forehead and says, “It’s over God, just take me now.  I’m no better than my ancestors who tried to tell people about you and failed.”  Then assuming that God is going to listen to his instructions, Elijah takes a nap.  Welcome exaggeration!  I’m sure we are very familiar with this process.  We don’t get the promotion we thought we deserved and it is the end of the world.  We don’t even consider the possibility that God has something way better in store for us in 6 months.  Maybe we would have been miserable in that new position?

2.     Why did this angel say that this journey was too much for Elijah?  Um, hello, he was nowhere near where he was supposed to be.    He jumped at Jezebel’s bark and ran off with a servant to hide.  Then he dumped this guy so he could truly be a legitimate victim and traveled for another whole day to separate himself from any indication of civilization.  We are very skilled at setting our pity parties up.  Step one, isolation.  Step two, relive every bad thing that has ever happened to us and play the blame game.  Step three, blow up a few balloons, get some party hats and get comfortable.  We want to enjoy being in misery.

There is a great ending to this story.  God allowed Elijah to witness how nature reacts to His presence.  He saw wind break mountains apart and experienced an earthquake followed by fire.   But God knew exactly what Elijah needed, a still, small voice that could go right to the core of his being and heal it.

It’s easy for us to say what Elijah should have done and point out his faults.  I don’t think that is the point of stories like these.  We are all going to behave like this at some point in our lives.  What a great illustration of hope and comfort.  God could have zapped Elijah because He got tired of his whining.  He could have let him die there under that tree, but He didn’t. He showed Elijah just a glimpse of His power to say, “Let me handle this, I’ve got it.”  Then He soothed Elijah with peace and comfort from within to restore him.  God knew exactly what Elijah needed to see, hear and feel.  Elijah is no different from you or me.  He was just a guy trying to share God with the people God put in his path.  If God knew what He needed why would it be any different for us?

Oversized

The Everhart house has been subjected to some serious spring cleaning over the last few weeks.  Yes, please ignore the fact that is now summer time!  We all have those rooms/spaces in our homes where everything that does not have a designated place seems to pile up.  It is an ongoing joke that I consider my husband and son to be pack rats, while they think I don’t keep anything.  Our son wants to keep every scrap of paper he has ever doodled on, every paper airplane he has ever made and every dried up marker or ink pen—just in case we need it to make something else.  My hubby keeps junk mail, every notebook he has ever written in and clothes that haven’t been worn in 10 years.  I guess all the stars were aligned recently because we tackled our extra bedroom, which is our personal junkyard.  We organized, put things in the attic and my personal favorite…threw some stuff away!

This bedroom also serves as our home office.  We had this massive desk that was too big for the space and really ended up being nothing more than a shrine to all things that we refused to find a place for, throw away or give away.  After getting some help from our wonderful brother-in-law, we found a great new home for the desk at our church.  We then purchased a much smaller desk that has no places or room to be a fancy trashcan.

As I thought through how I wanted the room to look, what its function needed to be, etc. it made me realize how junky some areas in my own life had become.  There were some spaces that I allowed to be overtaken by oversized memories, loaded down with traditions and even misused.  It was just easier to close the door to those spaces than to deal with them.

It’s not easy making a decision to let go of things from our past.  It is uncomfortable to realize that you have settled for a pothole in your life rather than climbing out, dusting off and moving forward.  I find it much more comfortable to look into the lives of others and determine what they need to do.  I could tell my son that life is not fair and you just have to deal with what it hands you.  I could be the wife that tells her husband just to quit fighting Lyme’s Disease because there is no cure.

I could be the woman that stays under the thumb of the legalism she was raised under.  Shedding things that hold onto us is either a process or an instant freedom.  What determines that?  Well, the best I can explain it is your willingness to let go is combined with God’s plan for your life.  Just like I had to ask for help from my brother-in-law to deliver the massive desk out of our home, I have to ask God daily to help me with the things I struggle with…anxiety, patience, using my ears instead of my mouth, etc.  However, sometimes there are things I can just pray about, drop it in God’s hands and have total peace.  I can’t predict what those things are for me any easier than I could for you, but I think our willingness to shed them is the biggest step or acknowledgement.

So my question for you today is, “are you holding onto some oversized things that you can’t get to fit into your life?”  Maybe it’s time to ask for some help to get rid of them?  It might not even be something bad…my desk is in great shape, it just wasn’t right for me, but it is perfect for the classroom at church.