Sunday, September 4, 2011
Get up and eat
Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, LORD,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” 1 Kings 19:3-5 NIV
I always like Elijah, ever since I was told flannelgraph stories in Sunday School and later while I read my comic strip Bible. He is one bad dude. I mean, c'mon, he gets to go to heaven by a fiery chariot! Pretty cool.
I was thinking of Elijah today. I can't say I have done anything exciting like he did-show up a false god's prophets or become enemy #1 in a nation-but I can relate to his spiritual exhaustion, his fear of the future. I have been feeling that deep fatigue and missing the past-people, experiences, my dog. Some people regret their past; I am grieving its loss.
Today, as I reluctantly crossed the church parking lot, not feeling very spiritual, just empty, I prayed that I was doing all I could putting one foot in front of the other. If God needed more from me, it couldn't happen. I had nothing to offer. And I thought of Elijah, falling beneath that tree, wishing he could die and be done with the struggle. God wasn't ready for that, though, and instead woke him to feed him. "You will have to care for me, too, Father," I whispered through a twinge of guilt at the simple struggle that is causing me to falter.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley [death], I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Psalm 23:4 NLT
Worship is numb, until the tears flow. I swallow the bitter understanding that while I believe You can do anything, You do not. You are quiet when I need You to say that word, to heal my heart.
...but only say the word, and my servant shall be healed Matt 8:8 ASV
As the gathering comes to a close, we celebrate communion together. While I look at the juice and the bread that I hold in my hands, I remember Elijah again. You have fed me, restored me, with Your own body, Your own blood. And, You said the words:“It is finished.” Just as You surrended Your spirit in that moment, I, too, surrender mine. I am tired, but I will rest in You-Your comfort found in Your word, Your sustenance of mercy, Your help through friends who love me as I cry. I want sometimes to be angry with You, but I can't seem to muster the energy. My gratitude cancels too much of it out.