Thursday, November 12, 2009

Wind and Waiting

When I come to the blogger page, there is such a temptation for me these days to just look at the list of updated blogs I follow, and go read all the new posts, go benefit from all those people's thought and effort, and then not write anything myself. Why is it I don't want to write?

It's because I don't want to answer questions. I'm not in the mood for statements. I'm uncertain. Walking alone, I close my eyes to feel the wind better, because it is strong enough to lift me. I lean into the press of the wind. Will it sweep me away? Will it carry me far from here, into the distant blue? If I gave myself to the wind, it would set me down in a stranger's story. Facing someone else's problems, I would spend my confusion on puzzling out the facts, the history.

As it is, I am embedded in my own story still, and I need to be puzzling out the present and the future. Where do I go from here? More to the point, where exactly am I now? I keep wanting to step around the issue. My eyes slide over it, my feet sidle past it, but it keeps reappearing in my path. The wind won't pick me up and lift me over it. The wind won't even blow it out of the way for me.

When Elijah was discouraged and lost, despairing and demanding death, God set him on the mountainside. 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. After the earthquake came a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.

When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, "What are you doing here, Elijah?"
I am feeling the great wind rush across me. I am feeling the trembling of the earthquake, rattling my bones. I am feeling the fire burn in my mind. But after the fire, a gentle whisper. (A still, small voice, to use Dallas Willard's terminology.) I am waiting for the gentle whisper.

Pause. Breathe. Listen.

When the still, small voice spoke gently to Elijah, it asked him a question. And if God asks me, "What you doing here?" what can I answer? Elijah answers from the depths of his despair, without sugar-coating.

What am I doing here? I have tried to seek Your will. I want to believe I have been zealous for the Lord--not working miracles like Elijah, but speaking what I know of the truth, giving what I can. I believe Your word: "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has gone, the new has come." So why do the words of Sara Groves' song echo in me?
Feels like I have been waking up
only to fight with the same old stuff
Change is slow and it fills me with such doubt
Come on, new man, where've you been?
Can you wriggle from this self I'm in,
leave it like a skin on the ground?
That's all I can say. I don't really understand where I am, what I'm doing here.

But after Elijah says,
He replied, "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."
God speaks to him again. God gives him direct instructions about where to go, who to speak with. God tells him the plan that's going to unfold, and God tells him that his own dismal assessment of the situation is, thankfully, wrong. Elijah is not actually the only one left; in fact, God says,
Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him. (1 Kings 19)
So I am waiting, if I can only be still enough, to find out the plan. Where do I go from here? Thank God Almighty, I don't have to decide that by my own wisdom.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Love you. Very good thoughts. That story and the language used has always resonated with me...makes me want to illustrate it.
(and p.s. nice formatting)