The way forward

So, young woman, the way forward is sometimes the way back
– The Labyrinth.

In 1 Kings, there is a story of an epic battle between four hundred and fifty prophets of Baal and a single prophet of Yahweh – Elijah.  In an effort to prove that Yahweh was truly God, Elijah asked the people to bring him two bulls as a sacrifice, one for Baal and the other for Yahweh, and place them on unlit alters of wood.  He then posed a challenge to the prophets of Baal:  “You call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of the Lord. The god who answers by fire—he is God.” The prophets of Baal called on their god all day, with no response.  When evening came, Elijah dug a trench around the alter for Yahweh, laid stones around it to represent the tribes of Israel, and poured water all over the bull, the wood, and into the trench.  He then called on Yahweh who answered immediately by burning the bull, the wood, the stones, and consuming all of the water in the trench.  Afterward, Elijah prayed for rain and it began to rain and then the power of God fell upon him so strongly that he outran the King’s chariot on the journey 15 miles back to Jezreel.

Days after instigating these miraculous events, Elijah receives a message that Jezebel is seeking to kill him.  Elijah – the prophet who has witnessed not one but three miracles – becomes terrified and runs.  He ends up in Horeb (also called “the mountain of God”) and crawls into a cave where the next day, God shows up and asks only one question:

“What are you doing here, Elijah?”

What are you doing here?

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Today I feel like I’m in that cave, hiding out with Elijah.  And God is asking me:

What are you doing here?

I’ve given you the ability to follow me…what are you doing here?

I’ve given you the courage to speak… what are you doing here?

I’ve given you words to share in love… what are you doing here?

I given you strength to be brave… what are you doing here?

My answer is that of Elijah:

Lord, I am afraid.

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[Then] the Lord passed by, and a mighty windstorm hit the mountain. It was such a terrible blast that the rocks were torn loose, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there was the sound of a gentle whisper:

“Go back the way you came.”

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