Pastor's Wife, Mom, Writer & Imperfect Seeker of Jesus
Pastors' Wives--Why Are You Here?
July 17, 2015
Sometimes ministry just doesn't seem fair. I'll admit that there are times when I get to feeling a little underappreciated by God for the "sacrifices" that I have made in my life and my family for the sake of ministry. My prayers become a bit childish and whiny as I voice my laundry list to Heaven.
If you read the entire Scripture passage that the homepage blog post Listen to the Sound came from, you'll probably agree that it is easy to sound a bit like Elijah when we voice those frustrations, and even admit that a part of us feels that Elijah is justified in his complaints. Go back to the Word and read 1 Kings 18:16-19:9 about that amazing face-off between Elijah and the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel and what happens just afterward. Seriously, take a minute and read the passage--I'll wait.
What a great victory for the Lord that Elijah was blessed to be a part of! He had to feel so special being this vessel used by God to show God's power and turn the hearts of the people. But then he gets the news that Jezebel is steaming furious and on the warpath to kill him. Instead of feeling confident and standing tall, he turns tail and runs away, begging God to just let him die, and wandering for forty days in misery until he reaches Mount Horeb.
I mean really, sometimes enough is just enough. No matter how many victories that we witness the Lord complete in our lives and the lives of others, in the next moment we face a barrage of spiritual attacks from a multitude of directions. It might be watching the person you have mentored for years turn their back on God. It could be a tragedy that occurs unexpectedly. Perhaps the struggle you have to handle on the homefront while your husband is always gone is becoming overwhelming. It might even be the constant complaining of the spiritually immature or the selfishness of those in a leadership role. Or maybe it’s the lack of having anyone who truly understands what life in the fishbowl is like. It doesn’t always have to be anything big. It might be as a minister I know says, “death by a thousand paper cuts.”
"Then the word of the Lord came to him: 'What are you doing here, Elijah?'
He replied, 'I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected Your covenant, broken down Your altars, and put Your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me too.'" (1 Kings 19:9b-10 NIV)
There are many times in Scripture that I SO want to be there to actually listen to what is being said. Can't you just hear the utterly defeated, and maybe a touch of whininess, tone to Elijah's voice? He is the one true prophet left to spread God's message and here he is being threatened by a pagan woman.
But when God asked, "What are you doing here, Elijah?," He wasn't asking, "What are you doing here on Mount Horeb, Elijah?" He was asking, "What are YOU doing here, Elijah? Don’t you remember your purpose, your call?"
Then the Lord displays His overwhelming majesty and presence NOT in the deafening thunder of wind, earthquake or fire, but in the breathtaking, staggering controlled power of a gentle whisper. Elijah may have momentarily taken leave of his senses, but he very much knows Who he is speaking to now. And he realizes that the Lord doesn't always move in the way that we want Him to or even expect Him to. “‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord.” (Isaiah 55:8 NIV)
When the Lord asks him the very same question again in verse 13, Elijah answers with the very same words. But can you hear the difference in his tone of voice? He is stating the facts, accepting his purpose, and looking to God for His ministry strategy to move forward. And that's exactly what God gives him.
There ARE going to be times when you too feel utterly defeated in this ministry one way or another. You too may want to just curl up under a bush (or under the covers) and say, “‘I have had enough, Lord...Take my life.’” (1 Kings 19:4 NIV) At these times, please hear Him in the whisper. Seek Him in a quiet place and allow Him to breathe refreshment and peace into your soul. Then step back out of the cave into the presence of the Mighty One and continue to watch Him move in amazing and unexpected ways!