Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 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.” Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep.
Everything is not okay…but it will be. This is the line I’ve been wrestling and have come to grips with over the past few days. My wife, bless her heart, keeps asking how I am doing. I’ve had to come to terms that a lot of right now “everything is not okay.” But I need to add this line: “but it will be.”
As a follower of Jesus and also one who has been “doing ministry” for about 9 years now, my race isn’t over but it is looking a lot different. And I am realizing a few things before I’ve even started this new season to truly withdraw, reflect and rest.
To some, rest looks a lot like quitting. To God, rest looks a lot like trusting.
I think the most difficult doubt I’ve wrestled with is fear that people with think I’ve quit on them. Which stems from my own selfishness and belief that I need to be present to “save” people. I can’t save people. I can’t fix people. I am not anything special. I am a man, broken, sinful and saved by no power of my own. And, as I am realizing it, I didn’t recognize how much I had let myself move into this false belief until I announced I am transitioning out of student ministry into a season to rest and seek clarity from God.
I feared man more than I feared God.
Words hurt. People hurt. There is no escaping that. But I’d forgotten whose words were truly life-giving. I hadn’t wrestled through pains, I had pushed forward because I had to – right? But there is a big difference between how I structured my life and what I claimed to believe. I hadn’t created the proper margin to allow my heart to rest in God, to allow my mind to stop fearing man and start being in fear, in awe, of God and all that He is and has done. And it caught up to me. A word or lack of word raced through my mind like a virus, cutting into my heart and spewing all sorts of lies. I was living in constant fear of man – and this infection of fear only comes with one remedy at this point – a season to withdraw and rest in Jesus.
Everything is not okay…but it will be.
Life goes on. We can’t control it. I am in this strange in-between as I sit in an office not planning for the launch of fall. I’m not going on a student retreat, I’m not anticipating football games, I’m not scheduling out weekend services. Someone else has stepped in. Because even if everything is not okay with me right now, or with you right now, it will be. Next man up, get some relief. Because the God of the universe is more concerned about my heart than about a program.
If the shepherd is bleeding on the hill, he won’t be any good to watch over the flock. Maybe for someone: you, like me, need to take a step that is very uncomfortable – may not even make sense – to allow God to do a work in you. What do you really need? Have you taken the steps to be sure you get to God and let Him do what only He can do? Because He will surely do it – on His timing and in His way – but He will meet you where you are.
All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.
The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” 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.