I Kings 19: 10 Elijah replied, “I have zealously served the LORD God Almighty. But the people of Israel have broken their covenant with you, torn down your altars, and killed every one of your prophets. I alone am left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.” 11 “Go out and stand before me on the mountain,” the LORD told him. And as Elijah stood there, the LORD passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the LORD was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake. 12 And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper.
This is Puzzling:
I’m always amazed at this story. Elijah had just rocked the house, calling down the fire of God on a wet altar and destroying the works of Baal. Then came Jezebel. Elijah ran and hid in a cave. God then asks:
What are you doing here, Elijah?
In my mind Elijah should have run up to Jezebel and called down more fire. Instead: vs 3 “Elijah was afraid and fled for his life.” I think I’m starting to identify with him a little more through this house-selling adventure. I’ve seen God provide multiple times, over and over again. He hasn’t sent down fire, but He has sent miraculous provision. Consistent provision. Every day.
We’re selling our house, and I’m scared.
I’m having difficulty believing that Christ is really leading us in this process; or that He didn’t tell us to start it then leave us alone to finish it. I’m having difficulty trusting in His continued love and provision, and I think I’m starting to understand why.
What are you doing here, Timothy?
Like Elijah, I’ve retreated to my own personal cave this past week. I’ve felt so much pressure about our future, and I feel like it’s up to me to figure it out. I haven’t wanted to enter His Presence. I’m more comfortable reading about Him than meeting Him face to face. I’d rather do anything than meet His face. Why? I’m not entirely sure. But I know I’m scared. I know He’s good. I know the Word says He won’t leave me or forsake me. So why am I struggling?
I’m having difficulty imagining a new future for our family. The future that I do see doesn’t look very comfortable. It’s making me wretch at the core of my identity. I’m vomiting out who I think I am, who I think Christ is, what it means to be Christian, what it means to serve, and how Christ wants me to live in America.
Here’s what I’m discovering:
I’m guilty. I’m guilty of making the cross small. I’ve made the cross into a little brief case I can carry around with me and open up when I feel like it. I’ve made the cross my business card. I can hand it off to people, and get back to people when it’s convenient for me. I don’t have to live with them, or even really like them. I’ve stopped seeing myself in ‘them’. The cross is meant to crush me. Instead, I’ve put it comfortably in my pocket.
Jesus carried our infirmities on the cross. He identified with our weakness, carried our burdens, and healed our disease: on the cross. We are told to pick up our cross and follow Him.
What I’m noticing is: I don’t want to. I don’t want to identify with the weak and broken; the widow and orphan. It’s uncomfortable and I don’t like it. Sure, I enjoy the mission trip or feeding the homeless as much as the next guy. Because when i’m done, I get to come home, pat myself on the back, put up my feet and return to my comfort.
I have just sold my comfort zone. I believe that Christ is worthy of my everything. I just didn’t realize my everything would cost this much. To love Christ is to love the Father. The Father’s heart is for the broken, the homeless, the poor, the destitute, the LOST. My heart has not been His heart. [John 8:42-47~ If God was your Father, you would love me (Jesus)…You can’t hear my Word…He who is of God hears the Words of God] I’ve been hearing what I want to hear. What am I doing here? On my couch-cave in self pity, worrying over things that will burn? Christ’s heart BURNS for the lost. If my heart isn’t, maybe it’s because I haven’t listened to HIS heart.
What if the homeless came home with me? What if my life wasn’t spent in a bubble where I can play patty-cake with the cross whenever I please? I like my space, I like my time. I like choosing when and where I can ‘serve’ the needy. As long as I can schedule it in and it doesn’t interfere with work or family, I’ll do it.
This is not the cross. I haven’t died to self:
Phil 3 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the priceless gain of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I may have Christ 9 and become one with him. I no longer count on my own goodness or my ability to obey God’s law, but I trust Christ to save me. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. 10 As a result, I can really know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I can learn what it means to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that, somehow, I can experience the resurrection from the dead!
Romans 6 Or have you forgotten that when we became Christians and were baptized to become one with Christ Jesus, we died with him? 4 For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives. 5 Since we have been united with him in his death, we will also be raised as he was.
Is 53 Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.
This house selling process is showing me a lot.
- I like my comfort. I love this house.
- I like my time: example: While we’re going through this, the kids & everyone got sick. Everyone. My days were spent cooking soup and toast. My time has not been my own. If I can’t serve my own family with joy, how can I expect to serve anyone else faithfully?
- I like knowing my future: The process of offering, counter-offering is driving me mad. We’re still waiting to hear back on our last counter-offer from the 2nd inspection. It’s been crazy.
- I thought I loved God. He’s showing me that I love myself more than Him, actually. I love God as long as: ___[fill in the blank]. Loving God involves trust. I’m having a difficult time trusting Him. Is He really for my good? What’s good? What if things don’t go as planned? is He still good? Good doesn’t mean for my benefit. Only God is good. My motivation has been to please Him. He wants my motivation to be out of His love for me. It’s a struggle to completely die and allow His life to live in me. I still want my way, even if I mask it as ‘Christian service’.
I want to love Him in a comfort zone. I really do love Him, but He’s demanding all of me in places I didn’t know I was keeping for myself. I’m dying, and the process is difficult and ugly. I get worried, tense, and afraid for my family’s future. I want to say that I fully trust Him and rely on Him, but it’s easier for me if there’s evidence of His provision. We were literally down to our last $1 the other week. He provided what we actually needed. Someone filled our gas tank. Others prepared us food. Without us asking. No checks came in the mail, but we weren’t stranded. We were blessed.
What am I doing here?
It seems to me that this process is necessary. We are selling the house to be obedient to a prompting from the Lord. But in the meantime, He revealing what’s really in our heart. It’s ugly. Lot’s of pride, expectations, entitlements, offense, and disgust in there.
I have submitted to the process of sanctification. I’m excited that He loved me while I was a sinner. He saved me by His grace, because He loves me. His heart is for me. I know that in all things, we will be ‘more than conquerors’.
If all goes as planned (ha ha), we’ll be out of house the 1st week in Oct. Then on to a friends basement for an indefinite period of time. Then? Who knows? But I really have my heart set on establishing a house of worship, prayer and discipleship for the Twin Cities. What I am certain of is that this process is necessary. What I’m not sure of is if it will ever end.