As the clean up for tornadoes OK and other areas continues, and the threat of tropical storms and hurricane season is plaguing previously (and currently) displaced homeowners in the Northeast, I keep thinking about Elijah on Mt. Horeb. I know what it is to feel exhausted of working full time “for God,” placing all hope in the mercy of God, while at the same time reacting (and over-reacting) to the natural events around us – going backwards instead of forwards in our work. Last year was tough in the events of life, but great in the post event growth that we always hope God will work in and for us during the difficult times.
Elijah knew what that felt like – we can’t argue Elijah’s commitment to God or God’s commitment to him and yet we see Elijah’s post traumatic stress reaction while hiding in the cave (I Kings 19:10), “I’ve been working my heart out for the God-of-the-Angel-Armies, [while others have abandoned you]…I’m the only one left and now they are trying to kill me…”
Alone. Abandoned. Isolated. Rejected. Stressed. Overwhelmed. Depressed. Did I say feeling alone? I can’t begin to imagine what Elijah must have felt like as he sat hiding in that cave. I bet he had one wicked stress headache. Maslow’s hierarchy of needs – send the angel first – basic needs met – bread baking on the coals, water, and sleep. Check. Now, get up and work. A bit more rest… Still afraid, but moving forward.
And God showed up – not in the terrifying events but in the gentle whisper. Not in the earth-shattering, but in the easy movement. Not in the heat, but in the cool breeze. He showed up despite Elijah’s hiding. He used him anyway. He uses us in our weaknesses. He will be looking for those in the tornado, the floods, and the fires who want to be used – not despite their pain, but because of it. Works of art – woven tapestries of grace complete with scars from where the blanket has been used to keep others warm – maybe even a stain where the wound of another bled onto us and left its mark.
I am waiting for the cool breeze right now. I have been without earth-shattering for at least a few months now, but the breeze still hasn’t blown. Sometimes hearing His voice requires we step out into the flames again, through the falling boulders and brace ourselves against the wind to find the cave where we can be still, and listen. I know I need a cave right now – I need to get past an “I’m the only one left” moment to hear Him tell me where I am to go next. In the mean time I will keep moving forward – trusting that I am on the right path and that each life I touch is the one Starfish sent from God – whether that be in Oklahoma, Staten Island, Haiti or the next room.
I can smell the break baking. I’m ready to roll.
Note: You can learn more about what it is I do on the About Me page. Maybe you will want to use your wounds to blanket someone. If so, I am more than happy to help point you to the baking bread and jug of water.