Elijah came to a broom tree, 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."
This is after Elijah has just prayed down fire from heaven as well as rain... he has just come off a spiritual high but he hears Jezebel is after his blood and he runs for his life!
Its in this place of hiding, in the place where he had drifted from his original calling that God asks Elijah "what are you doing here?"
Elijah answers; "I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too."
Then comes the amazing account of the great wind, earthquake, fire and finally a gentle whisper, and Elijah experiences the presence of God, and again he is asked by God, "what are you doing here?"
After he repeats his reason for being there, the LORD gives him instruction starting with "go back the way that you came..."
God was reminding Elijah of what he had signed up for in the first place
business as usual
The end of a year is a good time for us to re-evaluate where we are with God and to remember what we signed up for.
It's also a good time to evaluate whether we have in any way drifted from what God called to... It's easy to fall into a 'business as usual' life that is safe and doesn't cause the boat to rock too much. A kind off 'flying under the radar'...with all the stresses dished out freely in today's world, we can also get to the same place Elijah was at when he sat under a broom tree and said 'I have had enough!Take my life...'
Elijah was feeling extremely sorry for himself but the response he gets from God is 'what are you doing here?' God also shows Elijah that he is not always present in ways that we expect him to be... just when we start to feel we are all alone in this Christian walk, we sense God's presence in a gentle whisper. I don't know about you but I often look for God in the dramatic, big, earth shattering stuff and as a result, can miss him in the stillness of a gentle whisper.
Just like in the case of Elijah, God doesn't want to leave us at this place. God has called us to more in his Kingdom, the christian walk is not designed to be 'safe' rather it is an adventure where obedience to God can take us into all kinds of situations where we can make a difference through the power of the Holy Spirit. God called us to more... and he promised that in all of this, He will be with us!
go back the way you came
So what do we do when we feel like running away like Elijah did? What do we do when we have drifted from what God called us to? What do we do when we choose to fly under the radar?
This is what I have done (many times through the years);
The first thing that brought a change of direction, a restoring of what I signed up for, was to honestly answer the question 'what am I doing here?'
To own the decisions I made that caused me to fear, to drift and to hide. When I have been owned these things I stop being the victim and can begin to recognise again that God is with me and that in fact he has never left me.
The next step is 'to go back the way you came'. I have had to face my fears, face the things that brought me to the place of hiding. It is in facing the giants I encountered on the journey, the ones that caused me to 'run for my life' that I have experienced the power of God's presence again, it is in doing this that our character is developed and that we are strengthened.
I found that in 'going back the way I came', I had my passion for the things of God restored, I got a taste for the 'hill country where the giants live' again and I have once again been able to face life with confidence
Are you at a place where you have lost the edge to your calling? Have you drifted away from the adventure of following God off the map? Have you, like Elijah, 'had enough?'
Then I would encourage you to take some time out and to answer the question 'what are you doing here [insert your name here]?'
I pray you will once again experience God's awesome presence, I pray that the adventure of living a life of obedience to God will be yours again, I pray that you will fearlessly follow God wherever he takes you. I would love to hear about your experiences
God bless you, have a great Christmas and may 2010 be a year of Kingdom adventure for you and your family.