I often write as if I have the answers. I don’t. I know who does have the answers; but whether or not He’s revealed any of them to me is another story.
I think a lot of people are scared right now. I think they’re scared because they’re talking scared. They’re talking about the end of America, the end of our prosperity, the end of our way of life, the end of our Constitutional government and our rights as American citizens, the end of western civilization, the end of Christianity, the end of the world. They even have scenarios in place as to how all these things will come about: 1) Obama will be reelected, thus ending all hope; 2) the economy will tank further (2013 and the end of the Bush tax cuts, you know), causing riots, after which Obama will declare himself dictator and institute martial law; 3) Israel is going to bomb Iran, initiating World War III; 4) China and Russia are going to invade the United States; 5) God is finally going to get fed up with the United States and destroy it; etc.
We all know how things are going to end from the book of Revelation. What we don’t know are the details, and Jesus said we wouldn’t know those. God is very unpredictable in that regard. He’s in the habit of pulling rabbits out of hats that people don’t realize are even there. He did that 3,500 years ago when He led the Children of Israel out of Egypt. He did it 2,000 years ago when His Son got up from the dead. He did it with Martin Luther and the Protestant Reformation. He did it with George Washington and the American Revolution. He did it with Andrew Jackson and the War of 1812. He did it with the Allies in World War II. He did it with Reagan and the end of the Cold War. Just when you think you have everything figured out and things look their blackest, He has a way of sending in the cavalry.
He did that with the prophet Elijah time and time again. Once, Elijah was so discouraged because things looked so bleak that he just wanted to die. He even planned his own death: he fell asleep under a broom tree and waited to die from starvation. But God sent an angel that kicked him (King James Version) to wake him up and said, “Elijah, I’ve fixed you some breakfast. Get up and eat, we’ve got a journey to go on.” The Book (I Kings 19) says he went 40 days and 40 nights on that meal. (I want what he’s having!) The angel took him to the mountain on which Moses had received the Ten Commandments. I guess that was God’s executive office back then. What God had to say to him must have been important.
Before I get into that meeting, let me say that I have an inkling of an idea of how Elijah felt. He had just called down fire from heaven and slaughtered the 450 prophets of Baal. He had also called down rain from heaven, ending a 3-year draught. He was a winner, the best in his field, and at the top of his game. Yet, he was depressed – depressed enough to want to die. Why? Because it’s not enough to be a winner; you need to have a relationship that means more to you than even your very life. I’ve had days and weeks and months like the one Elijah was having myself. God gives me a string of victories in my life, and the next thing I know, I’m depressed. Something is missing – someone to share it with? A lack of fulfillment or satisfaction from just the work?
Here Elijah is, standing at the mouth of a cave on Mt. Horeb (Sinai), and God asks him, “What’s wrong, Elijah?” and he spills his guts. He talks about being jealous for God (look at what I’m doing for You, God), about how God’s people have forsaken Him (look at what they’re not doing for You), and about being the only one left who still worships God (it’s lonely at the top). He was feeling unappreciated.
So, what does God do? He tries to cheer him up: He puts on an Earth, Wind and Fire concert for him. He gives Elijah what he wants: a show of God’s force. But God is not in the wind, the earthquake or the fire that passes by the mouth of the cave. God is not in the things that impress Elijah… or that impress us. He then gives Elijah something he doesn’t expect: a still, small voice. God is in the voice. God is a person with a voice, not a force that smashes rocks. He wants a relationship with us. God is what Elijah needed, yet God didn’t look and feel the way he thought He would.
Jesus didn’t look and feel the way the people of his day thought He would, either. They were expecting a military lion that would destroy the Roman eagle. What they got instead was a lamb nailed to a tree.
I wonder if we know what to expect of God today? Are we thinking He’s sitting in His big easy chair, watching what’s happening on earth as if it were a bad TV show, thinking, “Man, am I bored. I can’t wait for Armageddon.” Do we think He’s just waiting around for the time when He can come back and destroy all the things in the world that don’t honor Him, and all the things in our lives that make us unhappy? Or maybe we think He’ll show up tomorrow in some miraculous way, delivering us from some bad situation? He could. But He could also sneak in the back door as a beggar or a street person. He could sneak into our lives as a coworker or neighbor. He could sneak in as the least likely person on the planet. You never know with God.
The point to these musings, and the point to everything that’s happening, is this: God wants a relationship with us. He wants to be that voice in our lives that brings us joy. He wants to be that person that we stand in the doorway looking for. He wants to be the one we share our victories with, as well as our losses. He’s wants to be “the one.”
If God is our one and only, the one that means more to us than even our very life, then it won’t matter who is elected President in November, what happens to our economy, if Israel does or does not bomb Iran, or what China and Russia do. It just doesn’t matter… because we have God.
God is the treasure for which we have spent our lives searching. He is the reason for this journey. He is the goal. Now we have Him. All that is left is to enjoy Him, no matter what is happening around us. Can we do that? If we can, then we will be lights in the midst of darkness… and that’s all anyone can be or do in this life. We will be successes, like Elijah, but we will also be content, fulfilled, satisfied.
According to the Westminster Shorter Catechism: Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever. Let’s enjoy Him!
Waitsel Smith, September 16, 2012
For more articles on the Fatherhood of God, go to http://www.waitsel.com/Father/
Text and Photos © 2012 Waitsel Smith. All Rights Reserved.