04-10-16 Voices in the Wilderness: Elijah (part 2)

I hope that this Sunday Morning Update finds you doing well and enjoying the new Spring weather.  April is shaping up to be a busy month around here, with a Ladies’ Craft Night this coming Friday, a clump of birthday parties (and moving days) on the next weekend, and our traditional Passover Seder coming up on the 30th.

If you’ve never been to a Seder (or even if you have), please consider coming and joining us for this awesome opportunity not only to eat good food and learn about the historical backgrounds of the Last Supper and our times of Communion in worship, but also to be part of sharing the Gospel message with people who might otherwise not ever set foot inside of a church building.  So scribble the 30th on your calendar and invite your friends to join us as we host a Jewish missionary from Chosen People Ministries, who will walk us through the traditional Jewish Seder meal and share how it all points to Christ and His own ministry.

By the way, earlier on that day, I encourage you to be taking part in (or at least praying for) The Walk, an annual event that raises much-needed support for the Women’s Pregnancy Center here in Peoria.  Get someone to sponsor you as you walk two miles on a beautiful Saturday morning, or sponsor friend to walk on your behalf (like our very own Linda Irwin), but show the Pregnancy Center that you care by being part of it all.

In our message this week, we looked at Act II of the ongoing opera of Elijah in 1 Kings 18-19.  For three years, everyone in Israel had been hoping for Elijah’s return -- the people, so that the rain would start back up again, and King Ahab, so that he could punish the “boogeyman” who’d caused so much pain in the land.  So when Elijah burst back onto the scene in chapter 18, it was a spectacular moment full of flourish and melodrama.

But then, Elijah loved the spectacular.  He was excited to stand against the 450 prophets of Baal in a spectacular showdown.  He loved making fun of them as Baal didn’t respond to their spectacular prayers.  He was bouncing off of the walls when God replied to his own prayers with a spectacular display of fire from the sky.  He giddily commanded the people to slaughter all 450 prophets, and then challenged Ahab to prepare for the spectacular rainstorm to come.  Once the storm came, he actually outran Ahab’s chariots in a spectacular race to Jezreel.

Elijah loved the spectacular, but he struggled with the mundane.  He could believe that God could raise the dead, he could believe that God could call fire from the sky, and he could believe that God could control the storms themselves... but when there wasn’t a “happily ever after” that made all of his problems go away after that, then his faith began to crumble.  He was so focused on himself and his own fears that he felt hopeless and alone, though arguably, the main reason that he felt alone was that he’d run away and hidden from his problems (and in the process, he’d run away from his 100 fellow prophets of God).  When faced with a spectacular moment, Elijah could trust in God... but when faced with the scary, everyday, ongoing problems of life, Elijah struggled to believe that God could make a difference.

The truth is, a lot of us have the same sort of struggle.  We might pray --and believe -- that God could miraculously heal our loved ones in some spectacular moment of supernatural intervention... but then struggle to think that God could actually help heal our troubled marriages by giving us direction and wisdom over the long haul.  We can believe for a spectacular moment, but not for the ongoing everyday.

And yet, that’s what God calls each and every one of us to do -- to actively and consciously put our faith in Him every day, in every circumstance.  Yes, in God’s strength, you can walk on water.  But in God’s strength, you can also just walk...

How should that affect your decision-making today?