So he said, “I have been very zealous for the Lord God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.”
– 1 Kings 19:10

Walking this road, living this life, I am meant to be set apart from others in this world. I am not meant to be like everybody else. And sometimes this path will be filled with loneliness. Even Elijah – Elijah! – felt lonely. The man who raised a young man from the dead, the man who brought fire down from heaven, felt lonely, and scared. It’s clearly not unusual, clearly not something I alone struggle with. Being in a land where it seems that “I alone am left”, I find myself feeling lonely. I feel like no one is here to support me or protect me or at least be here for me. But what I sometimes fail to realize is that God is aware. And He is near.

And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
– v. 9

God was there. God knew that Elijah was going into the cave and was about to let the self-pity settle in, and instead of leaving Elijah to mope God’s word came to him, offered an ear to listen, offered comfort where he could find none.

Then He said, “Go out, and stand on the mountain before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore into the mountains and broke the rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice [a delicate whispering voice].
– vv. 11-12

And so God took Elijah out of his cave of self-pity and woke the man up. Nothing wakes a person up quite like tearing winds, earthquakes, and fires. But then after all of that, He came quietly, delicately, speaking to Elijah.

Is this not so typical? How many times has God done this in my life? He takes me out of my slump, wakes me up, and just when I think I may fling myself from the proverbial mountain because of the quakes and fires, He speaks ever so delicately to my heart. I never noticed this translation before: “a delicate whispering voice”, but it makes perfect sense when you think of who God is and how He works.

I am about to give you a little insight to my past here in hopes that it will help make this message more tangible.

When I was in high school, I had a very teenage heartbreak. There were winds blowing and quakes shaking inside of me. I will never forget how hard I took it. I will never forget how I could not make myself stop crying even though I had been sobbing nonstop for hours, curled up on my bedroom floor. And then God asked me, “What are you doing here, Marina?” And I begged, I pleaded for Him to make it stop, to hold me and making the crying stop because I was just so tired. Then instantly, the winds quieted, the quaking stopped, the fire extinguished, and my crying finally ceased. He held me, and I could actually feel it. He spoke delicately to my heart and quieted the storm in my soul.
This is a night that I will never forget, even when I am 75 and the Alzheimer’s has kicked in.

brokenheart

More recently than that, God set me back up on that mountain. There was fighting, crying, hurting, all winds, quakes, and fires. I was experiencing weeks of unbearable tempests. And again, God spoke to me, this time through Abouna Bishoy, saying, “What are you doing here, Marina?” Things became clear. The storm quieted. And a delicate whisper eased my heart for the first time in a month.

God will not leave us to wallow in self-pity. He will not leave us to die of loneliness in a cave somewhere, but instead He will wake us up. He will shake us. Then He will delicately whisper words of comfort to us.

Sometimes we need to be woken up by blasting winds in order to be ready to hear the still small delicate whisper.

Advertisements

Way Too Full But Not Full Enough

The last couple of days I’ve been struggling with a little bit of a hurt pride. I’ve been struggling with my insecurities. I’ve been hurting just a little more than I normally am. And today God decided it was time to make it blatantly obvious why.

Today’s daily journal referred to 2 Kings 3:16, 20:

“And he said, “Thus says the Lord: ‘Make this valley full of ditches.’…Now it happened in the morning, when the grain offering was offered, that suddenly water came by way of Edom, and the land was filled with water.”

The little embellishment below the verse said this:

Before God can become incarnate in my heart I must empty myself so that there is room for Him to dwell. If I surrender to God and ask Him to show me which parts of my heart need to be emptied, He will never leave me dry. He is faithful to fill up the ditches of my heart with His living water.

It seems like the theme of my life lately has been where my desires lie. My insecurities, my hurt, my injured pride. They all stem from one thing: desiring something other than God.

When I desire other things, I try to fill myself with them. I fill and I fill and I fill. But then I am hurt and I am disappointed and I am miserable.

“For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns—broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:13)

broken cistern

I realize this is a topic that is repeated over and over, but it is a topic that I believe can never be repeated enough. Is that not the cause of mankind’s undoing? We look for satisfaction, for fulfillment, for complete happiness. And we will lie, cheat, and steal if we have to in order to obtain it. We will abandon God and our beliefs in pursuit of satisfaction, when in fact, He is the only Thing that will satisfy us. And what are we left with? Even more loneliness and emptiness.

We have to abandon our pursuit of satisfaction in other people, in possessions. We have to let go. We have to let God.

When we let go and let God, we will be satisfied, fulfilled, whole. No longer will we be disappointed because we will be trusting in the One who alone can fill, who alone can heal, who alone will not disappoint.

I pray that we – I first and foremost – empty ourselves, surrender to God, and allow the fulfillment to flow.