Loving the musings of Elijah today! Thinking back to a moment he found himself in a cave. His state of mine was not good, his strength was depleted, his future unsure and the moment oppressive. God shows up and asks Elijah, "what are you doing here?"...a few wimpy sentences of whining and then God says go outside. God says, "stand before ME"....a explosive wind, a tumultuous earthquake and a consuming fire pass before his face. But Elijah, for all his fear and trepidation makes just one observation; God was not in it, any of it! And then here comes a still, small voice. But before leaving this view, it is important that Elijah DIDN'T go out until after all that passed, even though God said very specifically, "Go out and stand before me"....why didn't Elijah go out? Of course, we can see why he may not have WANTED to go out...wind, earthquake and flames AND every single event of his life to that moment, including the mindset that although he had served God, everyone was hating him and trying to kill him. The explosive wind of change and betrayals, the earthquakes of falling hopes and failing confidences and the fires of scorched relationships. These were as much a part of his life, just like the cloak he wore. Everything he faced and failed at; everything he tried and God succeeded at...it all comes together in this moment. And then that still, small voice. A voice from the heart of God, clearly speaking the affirmation of life and mission; but also speaking the end of his time in ministry. For one thing, that God will proclaim is that Elisha has been chosen to succeed Elijah's ministry.
So is life at some junctures; just as in Elijah's day...it is easy enough to come to the place of despair and uncertainty, in spite of tremendous victory while serving Jesus. It is even possible in those times of victory to find a disconnect happening in the closeness of relationship with Jesus, just because of the involvement of us in God's miracles. When "us" gets tempted to think it has been working at it too hard, doing too much and God hasn't been doing His part, it is an indicator 100% of the time that self has gotten ahead of the Savior! And then tiredness enters in, weariness is the word for the day, week, month, year...and we plod on to some cave of refuge, where even the Word of God is resisted in moving on. Until, that is, God gets our full and undivided attention. Which may come in the wind, earthquake or fires, but come it will and work it will do! Then and only then, when God has our attention, can we get back to the job at hand. And we will wonder if we will be "retired" or recharged to the ministry at hand. In Elijah's case, little remained to be done outside of raising up Elisha to the ministry and then catching a chariot out of there. For us? Only God knows, but this I will affirm; it is far better to hear God before He has to get our attention. To seek out His refreshing, without waiting for His correction; to be still and know that He is God!!
Such was this last weekend...through the grace of God and the obedience of others who listened when God, through His Holy Spirit spoke. A full three days of refreshing, encouragement, some correction, but mostly an opportunity to hear God before He had to run out the full show (wind, earthquake, fire). In retrospect, some of the show was visible before now, but not the point of impending doom and abandonment, which I am glad to say, is not part of what God has for His children. Thank You, Father! I am LISTENING!!