Friday, January 13, 2012

"What are you doing here?"

"He [Elijah] 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.” 5 Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep."  I Kings 19:4-5a

"I have had enough, LORD", I said as we came to the end of the year last year.  Oh sure, just like Elijah I had seen some great miracles and been part of things that one knows are only done through God's hands.  But just like Elijah, I too felt like the amount of effort and energy one puts into going against the flow is exhausting.  Especially when many churches have focused inward and raising support in this economy is difficult at best. 

I have felt bitter toward many churches whom we have visited seeking financial and partnership support. Partnership in the sense of prayer involvement and finding new teachers that would be willing to go to Peru for a week or two.  More have been willing to partner with prayer and teachers, which is very needed, but nevertheless, after almost 2 years of trying to raise support, we are still only at about 18%.

So, like Elijah, I had given up, which is why I haven't blogged lately.  You know the saying, "if you don't have anything good to say, don't say it at all"?  Yep.  It is better to keep your mouth shut at times than to rant and rave.  Besides, I think I've done enough of that with my family... poor guys.

"All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” 6 He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again."  I Kings 19: 5b-6

I LOVE God's compassion and mercy. 

Even in Elijah's depression and bitterness, God restores his physical and probably emotional state.

"The angel of the LORD came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 8 So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. 9 There he went into a cave and spent the night."  I Kings 19:7-9a


[ri-stawr, -stohr] Show IPA
verb (used with object), -stored, -stor·ing.
to bring back into existence, use, or the like; reestablish: to restore order.
to bring back to a former, original, or normal condition, as a building, statue, or painting.
to bring back to a state of health, soundness, or vigor.
to put back to a former place, or to a former position, rank, etc.: to restore the king to his throne.
to give back; make return or restitution of (anything taken away or lost).

Just reading the definitions is invigorating.   Who doesn't want to be restored when they feel drug through the mud?!  And God does that.  He didn't give Elijah "one upside the head" ,as my brother used to like saying, but restored his health knowing the journey would be too much if he didn't.
And here's the first thing God asks him after all that:
"And the word of the LORD came to him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” "  I Kings 19:9b (Emphasis mine.)
I've always just read right over that thinknig it just meant, What are you doing here on this mountain?  Shouldn't you be somewhere else?
I think it means something a little deeper:  What is the reason you are here?  But Elijah must be tihnking what I originally thought because look at his answer:
"He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn 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.” "  I Kings 19:10
And I replied, "Lord, we are trying to get people on board with us so we don't go under and can continue training Peruvians in the Bible but all the churches have rejected us and we seem to be the only ones doing your work!"  So, yes, I am prone to exageration but there's a lot of truth in there.
But God replies:
"The LORD said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the LORD, for the LORD is about to pass by.”    Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.  I Kings 19:11-13a

I have been through hurricanes but never any that could shatter rocks or tear a mountain apart.  That must have been intense.  I've also been in an 7 point earthquake.  Let me tell you, things get moved!  I'm curious how huge the fire was, but if it follows the magnitude of everything else, it must have been ginormous!

But it was only the whisper that God was in and Elijah came out (with cloak over his face.)

"A gentle answer turns away wrath,
   but a harsh word stirs up anger."  Proverbs 15:1

And God asks the same question:

"Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” "  I Kings 19:13b

Interesting, because Elijah gives the same answer but I have a feeling there wasn't anymore bitterness in Elijah's tone.  Just a statement of truth:

"He replied, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, torn 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.” "  I Kings 19:14

God must have been satisfied with Elijah's state of heart and restored condition because God's answer is:

"The LORD said to him, “Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. 16 Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. 17 Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. 18 Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him.”"  I Kings 19:15-18

God restores Elijah's health, takes him into his confidence on a mountain, and helps him see the purpose of his life.  Which in his case was to continue the journey he had started, while at the same time God gives him specific directions which probably were very encouraging for Elijah.  He was finally going to see some results.  But his heart had to get back on track first.

"What are you doing here?"  Here on earth, living this life that God gave us.  Are you bitter at other Christians right now?  Or feeling depressed?  Get restored.  Realign your heart to listen to the truth of God, who comes in a gentle and caring manner.  He cares for your current state-of-being and once you are ready to listen with a contrite heart, He's ready to work with you and you Him. 

SO, want to help us financially?  We've started a jewelry business as our "tent-making business" (Paul in the Bible used to make tents to help provide extra income when the churches didn't give.) 

You can visit our website at:  and see if there's something you like and help us out too!  Thanks!!!  We also do jewelry parties.  If you'd like to help host one when we are in your neck of the woods, that would be wonderful!  Just leave me a comment and I will get back to you.