Posted by: Leigh Reynolds | November 17, 2014

“What Are You Doing Here?”

We finished a praise song and Tiger, our pastor, stood as he usually does, but didn’t say a word. He just let it fall into the quiet.

You could tell that some were wondering what was next, wondering if someone missed something. Others shifted uncomfortably, shuffling their bulletin. There were a few coughs, then a few small laughs – the kind that come when something is slightly uncomfortable… I leaned in. I knew there was a point about to be made and I wanted to hear what God had to tell me through this man standing before me, smiling in the uncomfortable quiet.

I have learned that God speaks through sermons; often delivering a very personal message that is independent and unique for many in the same room. We hear the same words, but can each take away something quite different, directed just for one. I am not sure what grabbed others in the room, but I know the part of the message that was for me.

What AreYouDoingHere“What are you doing here?”

In this sermon series, we’ve been walking along with Elijah for a spell. He was a great friend of God who had been fighting the good fight for a while, doing as the Lord commanded, standing up for what is right, fighting the righteous battles and seeing first hand God’s glory and power. But by he time we get to 1 Kings, chapter 19, Elijah is tired. Tired of standing up for God, worn out from doing the right thing, weary from fighting the good fight and feeling so alone. He runs. He gives up. He lies down and succumbs to his weariness.

An angel came and provided food and drink to help him regain his strength and prepare for the next leg of the journey. Renewed but still weary, Elijah went on to a place he knew God had been present in a mighty way – Mt Sinai (referred to here as Horeb – and I only know that because Tiger told us.) Once there he faces a powerful wind, an earthquake, and a fire – but God is not present in any of these, as Elijah may have suspected.

But after the fire comes a gentle whisper. “What are you doing here?”

Elijah shares his weariness, his fear and a little bit of his oh-woe-is-me pity party.

God basically tells him to go back the way he came and get some help.  That He already has leaders picked out to help Elijah keep up the good fight for His kingdom.

“So how does this Old Testament story relate to you, Leigh?” you may be asking.

Well, I have been slowly slipping into a pretty deep funk for the last few weeks. More than once (okay, daily) I have had a tear-filled chat with God, telling Him, “Hey, I’ve been fighting the good fight, haven’t I? When can a girl catch a break? I’m tired. I’m weary. I’m done…” I am not sure how I slipped so far of late. I am not entirely sure why the trials of wife, autism mom, teenager and tween mom, business owner and more have grabbed a hold of me so. But they have. And I have let them carry me to a place of much saddness. I have been calling out for God and waiting for my lightening bolt, an earthquake, a firestorm to sweep in and fix it all.

I have been so focused on the tough parts that I have been missing the blessings. I have been so caught up in worrying about tomorrow and next year and beyond that I have been missing what’s happening today. I have been missing it when God sends an angel to restore my strength. And I have been missing all the ways God has been showing me that He is right there, just as he always has been. I had forgotten all the times and all the ways God has restored me, held me, made a way. I have been crying out for a big bang and I have been missing the whisper.

In the little things, like my car needed new filters and new tires – oh woe-is-me. But just the week before we got a totally random and unexpected refund check for an over-paid insurance premium from 2011; more than enough to cover the tires. That was God whispering, “I am here. I am with you.”

In the big things, like Wil has autism and that’s really, really hard – oh-woe-is-me. But I have this amazing church family determined to be in this with us and I have a job/company that allows me to make enough to support my family while having the flexibility to work from home, make my own schedule, be there when all my kids need me, even if it is just for a ride to school when my oldest misses the bus, to join my middle one on a field trip (because she still wants me there), or give Wil the time he needs in the morning to adjust to the fact that it is now winter and that means a different coat. (And yes, that’s a thing with autism – he has difficulty adjusting to a change as simple as that.) Despite that run-on sentence, God has been whispering, “I know it is hard; I am with you. I have helpers already picked out. I have bigger plans; I am making a way.”

I have been depressed and focused on the wrong things. Listening to the wrong whisper – the one from the enemy that says, “You will never make it. You’re a bad mom. Your company is going nowhere, why are you wasting your time? You are not doing enough for Wil, his future will a mess because you can’t hack it.” I have been leaning into all the wrong things, listening to the wrong voices. And that means I have been leaning away from the blessings, missing God’s whisper of grace and peace and strength.

So God asked me, “What are you doing here? This isn’t the place I have for you. These are not the plans I have for you. Go back the way you came. Remember all the times I have been there? Recall all the ways I have sustained you. Lean into Me and I will carry you, just as I always have. I know the way and I know where you are going. Trust me.”

God has brought me to a quiet place. While I am not in a cave, I do spend most of my days in my basement office, alone. Life is very different than it was a few years ago. But God is calling me to listen to His whisper. There is great solace there. There is a lot to learn and know and so many ways to grow there, if I can trust and listen to His still, small voice.

Then, when He calls me out into the storm, I will know I am not alone. I will still hear His voice on the wind and I will not be afraid.

ForIKnowthePlansIf you find yourself in the wrong place, the sad place, the oh-woe-is-me place, ask yourself “What are you doing here?” Maybe God is whispering to you in His still, small voice as well. Listen and He will tell you the way to go.

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