I grew up in a Christian family. I could tell you a ton of Bible stories and probably answer every Sunday School question you could throw at me. One of my favorite Bible stories growing up was about Elijah. See I was so good I even knew Old Testament stories.
This story is found in 1st Kings 18:16-40. Basically, Elijah challenges some of the prophets of Baal to a duel. In that duel, Elijah taunts them because their god is not answering their request. This is why I loved the story so much – A Bible character making fun of people is so awesome. In some translations, Elijah even makes some potty humor!
When Elijah has his turn, he soaks his altar in water three times. He builds a trench, so the altar is soaking wet. Then he prays this prayer, “Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known today that you are God in Israel and that I am your servant and have done all these things at your command. Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again” 1 Kings 18:36-37.
The Bible says, fire from heaven came down and consumed everything. Even the water in the trenches. Such a cool story. I loved telling it to people as an example of how mighty God is.
I didn’t realize till I was older that I was missing out on a better story that would become a defining story in my life.
See, the very next chapter (chp. 19) Queen Jezabel (think Darth Vader only real, and no one’s father) finds out what happen and threatens to kill Elijah. If you have never read this story surely, you think Elijah would have some confidence. I mean he literally prayed and BAM – fire.
Instead, Elijah is scared and runs away. He allows his fear to drive him away from where God wants him to be. Elijah ran so hard that God had to show up to have an intervention (vs. 9). God only had one question, “What are you doing here?”
I hate cold weather. It’s probably a reason I struggled to love my move to New England. I actually don’t mind cold weather as long as it is when it is supposed to be. Like December – February. Not on a day in late May.
I’m sitting looking outside at the rain and thinking to myself, “why did I come back to Rhode Island for the summer?” I totally could have stayed down south and not dealt with it being cold – in MAY!! What am I doing here?
I asked that question jokingly, but it stuck with me. All day I was thinking, “seriously what am I doing here?” I didn’t know it then, but God had planted a seed in my heart. I started learning that day I needed to change how I felt about Rhode Island. Up until that point, I never cared about Rhode Island or the people in it. When I asked, what am I doing here? It was my way of saying I can’t wait to leave.
I think God was asking me the same question only he was asking, “how did your heart get to such a place that you don’t care for a whole region of people? What is your heart doing here?” Much like Elijah, my only answer was my fear. I didn’t want to be here. I was scared.
I couldn’t have known then all the amazing things God was planning on doing. But I decided I’d take him seriously and see what would happen – I’m so glad I did.
I’ve seen God use me to help all kinds of people. I met my wife because I followed God (I can’t promise that for everyone!). We have an awesome daughter and some amazing friends. Has everything been smooth? Not at all! However, God’s awesome love has given me peace when I don’t know where else to turn, and I’m amazed at how he has worked in my life – even though I doubt him all the time.
I continue to face all kinds of fears. Having a kid, financial pressure, working, etc. My biggest fear is that I will fail at ministry (funny because God is the one who is supposed to run that). I have fears that my hard work won’t pay off, that people won’t see God’s love, that I’m messing things up for everyone.
I constantly have to remind myself not to let my fear lead me to somewhere that God has to show up and ask, “What are you doing here?”
So Hey! As we start this journey together what better way than to talk about our fears? My hope is that every post encourages you, and helps you in some way. I’d also love to hear from you. Sometimes I might offer $.50 advice, other times $2.00, or ask for your advice.
Jokes are always free.
I’m full of fear all the time. Are you??? I’d love to hear about it. Have you ever seen fear drive you/someone away from God or did it drive you/them towards him? I’d love to hear about it in the comments or send me an email.