Tuesday, June 10, 2008

He loves me, He loves me not...

As I continue my 'eye opening' meander across the sometimes precarious slopes of pastoring a local church, I continue to learn that one of the occupational hazards of the job is second-guessing yourself. Some days I am flying higher than a kite on helium steroids, and on other days I feel like I'm due a visit from the men who put you in a little white jacket with extra long sleeves that stylishly wrap around the torso. As I talk to other pastors from around the country, I find, sadly, that I don't have exclusive domain of this feeling. I've been 'stuck' in the books of 1 and 2 Kings for a while now, and I'm thoroughly enjoying rediscovering the incredibly relevant truths that abound between the pages.

Take for instance the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 18. Today I'm not going to focus on the amazing miracle of suspending the rain for three and a half years, or even on the fact that God sends him to go back to Ahab the king and notify him that it's about to begin raining again. I'm not even going to focus on the fact that Ahab was 'headhunting' Elijah (and I mean that in the most realistic of terms as opposed to the modern day terminology which implies a good thing), and Elijah knew it. Instead, today I'm going to focus on Elijah's 'schizophrenic' approach to trusting in God's call on his life. From verse 16 through the end of chapter 18, Elijah is a spiritual 'monster.' He is masterful, confident and confrontational against Ahab, the Prophets of Baal, and the powers of darkness.

Now fast forward to chapter 19. Elijah, having orchestrated the deaths of all the Prophets of Baal, having confronted king Ahab and even verbally sparred with him, knowing that he was a spineless and godless dictator who could have ordered him killed in an instant, he receives a message from Jezebel, Ahab's wife. The message: "May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them (the Prophet's of Baal)." Elijah's response: "Elijah was afraid and ran for his life." Excuse me??? You've just called down rain on a land that hasn't experienced rain for three and a half years. You've just confronted the Prophet's of Baal and demonstrated the impotence of their gods (the same gods by which Jezebel swears). You've just proved to Ahab the power of an All-Powerful-God, and all you know to do is flee at the threat of a 'puny' woman? Wow! I guess myself and all those pastors who seem to approach God with schizophrenic inconsistency, are in pretty good company. Do you ever second guess God's purpose for your life?


Hope said...

I know many people unrealistically expect pastors to be perfect in their faith and action. But I have to say that I'm much more comfortable with those who are able to admit that they struggle from time to time. I find I can relax around them more. It's easier to be me and not try to be what some people pretend to be. Ya get me?? :)

Nike A said...

This totally resonates with me. I really have to constantly remind myself that He does have a purpose for my life and He is not going to reveal it to me in any major melodramatic way other than in the simple skills\talents that He has given me to use for His glory. Makes sense? Such as writing :)
On a different note, where were you yesterday? I am not sure if anyone noticed but I did when I missed a new posting yesterday - lol.
Hugs and blessings!!!!!

Ash said...

Pastors are people too (wink). But I think "running for our lives" can sometimes be a good thing...it gives God the chance to open his arms to us and collect us...subside our fears, just as a parent might a child...and once again, show us that he is God and knows what he's doing, even if we don't.

Joseph said...

Hope, perfect and me don't work in the same sentence so we're good :)

Nike, thanks for noticing. We are in the throes of preparing for our major OVERFLOW outreach event this weekend and I sort of got lost in time.

Ashley, thanks for acknowledging that we are people too! Sometimes, the way people treat us makes me wonder.