Wow, in the previous chapters, Elijah is the man! He stands alone agaist the false prophets of Baal, he stands in opposition to the wrongdoing of Ahab and Jezebell. He calls fire from heaven. Eli has it going on! And then as we begin today's reading we see the opposite end of that spectrum.
But, James didn't have to tell us that, we can see it in his story. After his mountain top moment. After God showing up in a miraculous way that most throughout history never encounter. After calling down the glory and fire of God, after all of that evidence, (just after) Elijah was ready to die from fear.
Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness. He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” 1 Kings 19:3-4
Of course God shows up and provides for Eli, but it seems to me that we should take something with us as we move forward from this story. What is it about the extremes that cuase so much irrational behavior in us?
On the mountain tops of life we can know things like love, compassion, grace, fullness, contentment and more. That said, it sure seems to be true at the same time that when we struggle, when we doubt, when we feel as if we are done...finsished..."had enough" we can find those same atributes of God. I don't like that at all but it sure seems to fit both scriture and life.
Those who chase God can easily be tempted into thinking that his love is about our behavior or our circustances, we must refuse that with our entire being. Of course God is concerned about behavior but his love is either unconditional or it isn't. Experiencing the unconditional love of God in our darkest moments isn't easy cuz we tend to want the cups of our darkest moments to pass...(even Jesus felt this way.)
What, if anything, changes as we stop fighting agaist our dark. Listen I don't mean that we should ignore sin, rather I'm concerned that we apprach sin as if the more "good" moments we string together the less sin will matter...which seems to me to be the exact obediece the Pharisees had. So, if God wants us pure, holy, what do we mean by that? Does that come from shaping our lives to avoid difficulty? Or, is there a relationship worthy of suffering? Is there a relationship that so wonderful that you would sacrfice for it. We all pretend...
"That's my kid, I'd die for them." --of course I'll also belittle them every chance I get when they fall short cause that's how I was taught, both by my parents and my theology!
It's just weird, because we all talk a good game within our various love relationships but do we suffer for them or are we always trying to manipulate them to our own expectations?
I mean, I'd give my wife a kidney in a second...but she better note touch that damn televison remote, that's too much suffering for Dan!
Anyway, now I'm rambling a bit, I just thought I'd see what y'all thought about the ups and downs of life. Keep reading.