Monday, May 17, 2010
Fire fell at his calling. Twelve sacred stones, a sliced and soggy bull carcass, and water running everywhere. I'm not sure any story could capture my attention more than that one. First Kings, chapter 18. Elijah propositions the prophets of Baal with a simple question: "How long will you waver between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him."
But the people said nothing.
The essence of my life is answering that question. Of course, I jump at the chance to shout, "The Lord is God!" As a pastor, I get that chance every day. But I have found that too often my actions and attitudes reveal a wavering heart. A financial pinch, a brewing conflict, uncertainty - they all give me pause to waver. And Baals in the form of money, power, comfort and pride all vie for my attention.
So for the coming summer days, I am taking a sabbatical from my daily routines of ministry. For several weeks, I too will say nothing - not because I doubt the sovereignty of God, but because I doubt my voice in proclaiming it. Like Elijah of old, I need a day to listen to the other prophets' voices, see the shallowness their fervor, and pray for God's response. My hope is that I will come to the point where I can tease and dismiss the voices in my life which say, "Shout louder, strain harder, cut deeper and then maybe your God will do what you want." Such voices have gained way too much influence in my life lately.
So, for the next few months, I will join this prayer: "O LORD, God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, O LORD, answer me, so these people will know that you, O LORD, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again."
Fire fell at his calling. May it fall afresh on me.