Learning from Elijah at the End of a School Year

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It is the end of the school year, and I find myself thinking about Elijah.
Elijah fights
After the fight with the prophets of Baal, after the flight from Jezebel, after his journey into the wilderness, Elijah was worn down physically, he was emotionally depleted, he was feeling inadequate to what God had asked of him.
He plopped down in a cave and moped.
This. This is what I want these days. To sit in a cave by myself (solitude is key) and mope.
God asks Elijah why he is sitting and sulking in a cave, and Elijah informs God of all that he has accomplished for Him, complains that he  is all alone in his fight, and is honest about his fear for his life.
This is my daily life, especially at the end of a school year.
I feel worn down physically by the demands of small children who depend on me for everything, from getting dressed to being educated to learning about God.
I am often emotionally depleted from pouring out myself for my family.
I feel completely inadequate to the task God has set before me of raising my children to honor Him.
I am lonely from being in a new town with the added difficulty of meeting people as a homeschooling mom.
Most days, I feel like a failure.
Elijah is fed
Before Elijah made it to his brooding cave, he collapsed under a broom tree where God met his needs.
An angel brought him food and drink and allowed him to rest, saying, “The journey is too great for you.”
Elijah rested and took in nourishment from God before he traveled to the mount of God.
I need to learn to depend on God for every single daily need, just as Elijah was forced to do under the broom tree.
God told him that the journey was too much for him and gave him food and rest.
God knows that I am inadequate for the job He has given me, and He has given me His Spirit, the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead, to provide everything I need for my mission.
Elijah was sustained by God. He did not make his journey in his own strength. I need to learn to do the same.
Elijah hears God
God also made it clear that He was still with Elijah. When the Lord passed by Elijah on the mount of God, God spoke to him in a still small voice rather than in the fire or the earthquake, perhaps to let Elijah know that He was near and close to him.
I desperately want my times with God to train me to listen to God’s still small voice so that, even in the midst of my weariness and loneliness I know beyond a doubt that He is with me.
That will be enough.

Art credits: Elijah kills the Ba’al priests, woodcut for “Die Bibel in Bildern” by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld; Elijah in the Wilderness, exterior of the Duomo in Milan by Yair Haklai; Elijah Cave inside Stella Maris Church in Haifa by Larry Koester

The Gift of Loudness

I could see the fear in the ever-widening eyes of my youngest as the train barreled past us, just across the street, its whistle screaming in an attempt to warn foolish drivers out of its way. I picked her up and she immediately wrapped her arms around my neck and her legs around my waist in a vise-like grip that I have never felt before.

My eldest used to also be terrified of loud noises. She went through a long period of time when she was afraid of fire engines to the point of hysteria…even if they were parked and turned off.
As a musician, sound fascinates me. The science of how wavelengths work to create sound and music is a beautiful gift from God.

What about loud, clamorous noise, though? Is that a gift as well?

We all jump high when a car horn sounds behind us. Our hearts skip a beat when a clap of thunder crashes right above our heads.

As I held my littlest one, rocking her and shushing her, assuring her that the big, bad train would never leave its tracks to come and whistle in her ear, I though about how much I loved the feel of her chubby little arms and legs clinging to me.

As often happens when thinking about my own children, that made me think about how God loves for us to run into His arms and cling to Him.

Could it be that when we are distracted, when we are looking to other things for our rescue or our comfort, He uses a loud noise in our lives to help us remember to cling to Him and let Him take care of us?

He knows that we need a soft voice. When Elijah was in deep despair and asking to die, God came to him.

God wasn’t in the wind that tore apart mountains and shattered stones. God wasn’t in the earthquake that felled trees and tossed around boulders. God wasn’t in the fire that raged and roared and burned.

God wasn’t in the loud.

No, God was in the gentle whisper. The whisper that reassured Elijah that he was not alone.

Will you be still? Will you allow that loud noise to propel you into His arms, to send you to wrap your whole being around God?

Simply listen and let Him whisper His love and presence to your heart.

art credit: Elijah in the Wilderness by Washington Allston