Monday, May 01, 2017

When God Shows Up

Have you ever had God show up?  Like when you least expected it did he surprise you by being there to give you direction? Have you felt His presence strongly in ways you didn't imagine?  The same thing happened to Elijah in First Kings 19.
He was tired and overwhelmed.  In fact, he was REALLY tired and overwhelmed.  In 1 Kings we read:
He (Elijah) came to a lone broom bush and collapsed in its shade, wanting in the worst way to be done with it all—to just die: “Enough of this, God! Take my life—I’m ready to join my ancestors in the grave!” Exhausted, he fell asleep under the lone broom bush.
He fell asleep and then an angel wakes him up to see that there is food next to him.    He eats, but he's still tired so he goes back to sleep.  An angel wakes him up again and tells him he needs to eat again because it's time to go on a journey.  He travels 40 days and 40 nights and then crawls in a cave to go back to sleep.   Finally, he wakes up and God asks him, "why are you here?
Elijah replies:  
I’ve been working my heart out for the God-of-the-Angel-Armies,” said Elijah. “The people of Israel have abandoned your covenant, destroyed the places of worship, and murdered your prophets. I’m the only one left, and now they’re trying to kill me.”
He is told:
“Go, stand on the mountain at attention before GodGod will pass by.”  A hurricane wind ripped through the mountains and shattered the rocks before God, but God wasn’t to be found in the wind; after the wind an earthquake, but God wasn’t in the earthquake; and after the earthquake fire, but God wasn’t in the fire; and after the fire a gentle and quiet whisper.  When Elijah heard the quiet voice, he muffled his face with his great cloak, went to the mouth of the cave, and stood there. A quiet voice spoke.
I realize that is a long story but there are several things to learn from it.

1)  When we are overwhelmed, God knows what we need.   The needs are basic.  Food, shelter, water, sleep.   He took care of those things before He asked Elijah to do more.

2)  Even when we are at the end of ourselves and ready to be done, God still calls us to move forward.

3)  Even when we are faithless, God is faithful to speak to us.   Elijah had himself convinced that even though he was "working his heart out" that God was not paying attention and believed he was going to die.  But God knew different.

4)  When God shows up, He doesn't always do it in the ways we most expect it.   We look for him in hurricane winds.  We look for Him in earthquakes.  We look Him in raging fires.   But when he shows up it is sometimes a "still, small voice" or, as translated above, "A quiet soft voice."

So, are you feeling overwhelmed and wishing you were dead?  Try this.  Imagine God saying to you.... Have some healthy food and water and get some sleep.   Then do that.   It may take while to establish healthy sleep and eating patterns, but put in the time to do it.   Then go for a long walk.  :-)

Then, once you have those basic needs met, admit to God that you are the end of yourself.

And then, listen, with a still, small voice.  You'll be amazed at the plans He has for you.

No comments: