If I ever were to get a tattoo this title would be appropriate.
The phrase is from I Kings 19:9. God is speaking – to one of his children who had been
blessed to be a part of an obvious act of God, yet had listened to the enemy and was now exhausted from running in fear, sitting under a bush in the dessert…depressed, and wanting to die.
“and the Lord came to him, and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
just as the Lord has said to me, many times, “What are you doing here, Delores?”
Were I to draw a timeline of my Christian life, I could mark peaks of “mountain top” experiences that led me to God, sustained me in trouble, and gave me opportunity to be a part of God’s great plan. I could also mark dips of temptation, disappointment, depression, and fear.
Commitments of diet and exercise, study, prayer, and spending time with others seem to bring reminders as they did for Elijah, that we are no better than anyone else. It is sad that that would make us sad when you think about it.
Is that really our goal? For me it truly has been, as my mother was not a good mother or wife, and I SO want to be a good mother and a good wife. Yet many times I have been confronted with the fact that I have many of the same failings and leanings, and I let that sit, rest, then take root and live in my mind and heart. And I get depressed. I am no different.
My history with God – those peaks on my timeline shows that God has moved in my life many times, and in many miraculous ways. So why should I ever (and why did Elijah) listen to the enemy’s taunts?
– Why should one who had such history with God be found not just considering one bag of potato chips but a cart full? Why should one who has known the benefits of physical exercise be found avoiding the effort it takes? Why should one who has read or watched things which have brought her closer to God, be afraid to toss the book or walk out of the movie that dishonors God or truth?
I think God was asking Elijah – and is asking me – much more than a single question
1 – What – not why are you here – but what burden brought you here
2 – Are you (you who have experienced God’s presence)
3 – Doing (are you running from me, or seeking to find me)
4 – Here (not so much a place as this moment in time and this emotional condition)
Elijah had that kind of relationship that answers God – even whines to God with his story.
He found the lesson that I’ve experienced time and again.
Though the original meaning of the word what denotes by what manner (what brought you to this place at this time) – Elijah’s depression story is all about himself– I have been, I am not – and they.
God sent helpers. He preceded his answer with comfort and strength through others
No list of don’ts. No condemnation. Just rest. A touch. A reason to get up. Refreshment. Provided.
God gently asks for details
What (original meaning takes us to from what or under what [circumstances or influence]
here – [in this time, in this manner]
I am reminded of a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary who greeted a slump-shouldered student crossing campus with the question of “How are you doing?” The student began answering, “Well, under the circumstances…” when the professor interrupted him to ask,
“What are you doing under there?
That’s my lesson from the Elijah’s story: to ask myself
What are my circumstances – under what influence are my emotions and actions?
Have I accepted God’s provision of rest and refreshment?
Have I rested? Really?
Physically and emotionally and spiritually?
Are you also, “under the circumstances” and want to rise above them? Are you angry, or hurt, or depressed that you are even there? Have you quit trying on your own to rise above those circumstances?
It is not so much another re-action as it is an act of reclining and trust and dependence.
I’ll stop there for today lest we miss what I often missed.