Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I'm a saint! Well, sorta...

I think women in general can be exceedingly hard on themselves, and I know I in particular am on myself. I never seem to get it right. I want to reflect Jesus’ mercy, but instead I withhold it, thinking rather that the person should “get what they deserve.”

I try to remember Colossians 4:6, and keep my conversations full of grace, but instead I grumble about inconveniences.

I want to be filled with the Fruit of the Spirit (who couldn’t use an extra dollop of patience?!) but instead I get annoyed.

And then I feel guilty, confess these sins to God, beg the Holy Spirit to work in me and start the cycle all over again. How in the world did the Saints of the Old and New Testament DO it? How did they always get it right?!?

Well. Ahem. They didn’t.

I was reading about Elijah recently. I Kings 18 tells the amazing story of how Elijah, with God’s power, got soaking wet wood to ignite in flames, proving to the Israelites that the one true God was Yahweh, not Baal. He faced a king who wanted to murder him and 450 “prophets” of this false god, and he didn’t even flinch. He knew the Lord was on his side. No fear, only power. No timidity, only courage in the Lord.

Then you get to chapter 19. You don’t know if it is hours or days later, but the king, Ahab, tells his beyond-wicked wife, Jezebel, what Elijah did. She in turn threatens to hunt Elijah down and kill him. So Elijah, who has seen the power of the Lord first-hand stands up to her, right? He’s seen what the Lord can do – didn’t he just face down 450 Baal prophets and the king? Clearly he can face one queen, right? Nope.

3 Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, 4 while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, 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.”

He was afraid. He took off running. Even after experiencing God’s awesome power and presence. And then told God he was done and wanted to die. He had forgotten all the good that the Lord had done through him, and the omnipotence of the Lord.

I’m not at the point where I want to die, but I’ve certainly done my fair share of wanting to give up. It was a nice revelation this morning to realize I’m not the only one who has felt like that in their faith walk, and to realize that God will still love me.