"I count myself one of the number of those who write as they learn and learn as they write." ~St. Augustine

Monday, April 25, 2011

Fed by a Gentle Father

I went to an Easter service yesterday feeling down. Physically, emotionally and spiritually I just felt "yuck". I felt (as I have off and on this week) out-of-sorts and down-right sad. Walking into the room, as if half asleep in a dream, I took my seat and "attended" this service. ...just going through the motions, really. And, then, something strange happened...

Something marvelous occurred as I sat in that pew seat...

The band began to sing the first song and my mouth moved with the known words. With very little feeling from within, I sang words and silently asked the Lord, What is wrong with me? My heart weakly murmured the words, Why so downcast, O my soul? I have forgotten again, Lord. I am so tired.

Then, in my mind's eyes, I "saw" (remembered) the story of Elijah. As if a direct answer to my prayer, God brought to mind 1 Kings 18. In this story, Elijah profoundly fights, in the Lord's strength, the prophets of Baal. Shortly after this amazing event, oddly Elijah runs for his life in fear. He hears about Jezebel and he is intensely afraid. He is exhausted and scared. It says in I Kings 19, "Elijah was afraid and ran for his life".

After running for some time, he falls down exhausted at the foot of a tree and says to the Lord, "I am done!"

I felt that way a few times this last week, ..."just take me, now, Lord!" I am done! I am so done.

Tired. Weary. Circumstances of life swirling ominous around my head. Larger than life, these mole hills did indeed feel like mountains. Hopelessness, anxiety, and fear crouching at my door, ready to leap and dig their nasty, ugly talons in me.

...so the band played, and I listened. I mouthed familiar words and thought of Elijah. Very quickly I realized the words on the screen were like a cool drink. Water! My eyes wandered and I watched those around me, my brothers and sisters, worshiping with joy and exuberance. Their worship was like food. Like a soft piece of bread, I ate.

The Lord was reminding me, showing me, offering me food and drink. They sang, I sang. Inviting me to a banquet, they sang, I watched. ...and I was fed.

Like my brother Elijah, I was fed by God's hand and by His people. I just needed to rest and eat. My Father, Our Father, offered me the food of praise. I took it in, ate and was satisfied.

Just like to my brother Elijah, our Father was gentle, kind and generous. He didn't rebuke me in that moment for my doubt, my lack of faith, or my unfaithful heart. No! He just gently lifted my eyes... like a kind Father touching the chin of his child. Look up, my daughter. Look up and out!

When I left that service, fed by the Lord, I was strengthened. I was awakened and alert. I was willing and able to continue on and keep serving in His strength. "So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God" (1 Kings 19:8)

And, with feeling I can now say, Hallelujah, He is Risen!!
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