Thursday, October 27, 2011

The God Who Sees Me

So the Grilled Cheese Truck left before we got out of class (sad, I know). We will stalk it down another time I am sure. Class turned out to be really great. My professor, Dr. Van Engen, has this way of telling Bible stories that is as if I am hearing them with new ears. He tells them so passionately and portrays God in such a real way. I am always entranced when he tells these stories. (The class is Biblical Theology of Missions). Last week it was the story of creation and I found my heart truly breaking when he came to the part where Adam and Eve sinned and hid. He portrayed God as truly longing for that friendship with Adam and Eve and being so so distraught when they disappointed Him. I felt so sad that we disappointed God, who loves us so much, enough to create us, and I felt the emotion of the story.

I saw the story with new eyes and I heard it with new ears.

Tonight we heard the story of Sarah, Hagar, and Abraham, but the story that really struck my heart was that of Elijah. My professor was talking about meeting God in the desert, that this place that is dry and barren and full of suffering is the spring of missions and ministry. God meets us in the dry and desert place.

The story of Elijah is in between 2 mountains. First is Mount Carmel, where God shows up and defeats the prophets of Baal. This is great! But then the queen wants to kill Elijah, so he runs to a cave (a desert). He is so depressed that he wants to die. He just sleeps and sleeps until an angel tells him to eat. And in the midst of his depression, God speaks to him.

"Elijah," He says to him, "what are you doing here?" And there comes a loud wind, but God is not in it. Then an earthquake, but God isn't in it. Then a huge fire, but God is not in it.

And then, there is silence. And Elijah hears a small whisper. And God says, "Elijah?...Why are you here?" And Elijah hears the small whisper, and he whimpers, so upset, "I'm alone God. It's only me."

And God says, "Elijah. You are not alone. There are seven THOUSAND more like you. Go."

Do you feel the emotion in that story? Can you feel the sadness of Elijah as he stands before that wind, earthquake, and fire, wondering what is going to become of him? Can you picture his face in this desert place?

It is in the desert, in the stillness, that we must go to hear God. For me, that place was India. I was so alone there. I cried out because I was in the desert. I was in a hard place and I had nowhere to turn. And I tell you the truth, I have never heard God more clearly than I did in India. He sent me to the desert so I could hear His whisper in the stillness. I was struck so clearly with that in class, that India was my Mount Horeb. I had been on Mount Carmel, where it was loud and I was busy and things were crazy, and God had to take me away to the desert place so that I would hear Him in the silence, in the midst of the desert. And from there sprung mission.

If you haven't read the story in a while, go open up to 1 Kings 18-19, and don't just read the words. Put yourself in the story and read the emotion. Feel what it would feel like to be Elijah. Meet God in the desert.

Where do you go to experience God's presence? Where do you go to meet Jesus?  

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