Luke 24:13-32
This is Jesus heartburn(I have to credit Dallas Willard for this term!)...31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"

Friday, October 28, 2011

I've been having a lot of Elijah moments lately. I wish it were the BIG moments when he fed people or showed God's glory to hundreds of false god worshippers. It would be nice if it were similar to his prayers that stopped rain for 3 years and then got God to send rain again just at the right time. I'd like a dose of his confidence, his faithfulness, and his courage. But those aren't where I'm at right now. It would even be okay if they were the silent moments of Elijah...I'm sure there were many good things that he did that aren't recorded in history!

In 1 Kings 19 Elijah runs away...
He's just defeated a worship system that has enslaved people for years. 
He's won ground for the Lord by showing that God's power is greater than any other.
He's killed hundreds of his enemies.
He ran a race and beat a king in a chariot.
He's prayed for rain and seen an immediate answer. 
BUT he is threatened by a woman--yes she's the queen but he's faced her before--and he RUNS AWAY.

He goes and sits under a broom tree and asks God to finish him off. 
He's tired.
crabby. 
hungry.
thirsty.
He's wondering where God is. 
Where's his reward.
protection.
success.
friends.

And I LOVE what God does next he sends an Angel with water, food, sleep and REST. Because God knows that we are whole people...that's how he made us...and we cannot function without enough food, water, and sleep...EVEN if we are doing good things for him, eventually we all come to the point where we have to sit down under the broom tree and get fed. And I don't think we are supposed to spiritualize this and say God gave him the spiritual food he needed to go on...that comes later...in this moment Elijah gets EXACTLY what he needs--real, physical food and water and sleep.
Then God addresses his crabbiness and his wonder with a question, "“What are you doing here, Elijah?” 

And Elijah is not afraid to give his real, honest answer filled with all his wonders and self-righteousness...“I have zealously served the Lord God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.” OR "I've done all that you asked. Why have you left me alone! Hello, I am following you and this is NOT the way the story is supposed to be!" 

God's answer is beautiful.
a storm. 
an earthquake. 
a fire.  
a whisper. (my translation says a thin silence)

Elijah goes to stand with God. WOW! and repeats the same thing...God asks, "why are you here?" Elijah responds, "It's not fair and I am all alone but I follow you!"

And God answers with EXACTLY what Elijah needs...Hope for the future! 
New kings to anoint.
7,000 other followers who never bowed to false gods.
An apprentice to take his place when the time came for him to die.

Elijah goes away from this time with God refreshed physically. He's heard by a compassionate Father who reminds him gently that he is not alone and all is not lost. He steps back into life/ministry with a new plan. God gives him a companion and reminds him that the work of the Lord will go on through others long after he is gone. His plan is bigger.
than one event.
one moment.
one prayer.
one king.
one defeat.
one earthquake.
one prophet.
one nation.

There is so much we can learn from this account from Elijah. I shared the story at staff devotions and one staff member said he loved this story because it showed God's Word is inspired. If it wasn't the writer would have left out this part that makes Elijah look like anything but a hero. We like our heros to be strong always, unwavering in faith, and sure. But maybe that's why I love Elijah so much...he, like so many of the Bible's characters, was flawed and human! 

I think that no matter where we serve or how we serve, if we are serving the Lord we all face Elijah moments...we face the ones where everything is good and God's hand on us is evident to all; we face the ones where we run away, get stuck under a broom tree, and have to have the Lord rescue us. He lovingly changes feeds us, listens to us, speaks to us in silence, and changes our focus. Maybe he gives us a new ministry or like Elijah shows us how to turn it over to someone next. I don't know where you are at...I know where I am.
I'm at the end of a season.
tired. 
crabby.
hungry for home.
thirsty for diet coke.
Wondering what's next.
how do I finish well.
where do I go from here.
looking for a broom tree...not to die under! just to get some rest!

And God is gently reminding me his plan is bigger. 
than one year.
one opportunity.
one dream. 
one prayer.
one defeat.
one nation.
one idea.

He is always good, 
His grace is sufficient
and I am always loved....and so are you.