Roller Coaster of Emotions
Do you ever feel like your emotions get the best of you? Up one moment, down the next. Do you wonder how, and even if, God can use someone as unstable as you? God needs the strong and steadfast to do His work. Doesn't He? In First Kings, chapters 17 through 19, we read of Elijah's ups and downs and I can't stop my imagination filling in a little. This is a story of how I picture God relating to His child, emotions and all!
Laura, Debbie and Christy talk about fears that bring tears, read a poem that resonates with all of them and changing out husbands like changing out couches.
The Parable of Alisha
The people had gone a long way from their heritage of honoring the Lord and He was using a massive drought and famine to turn their hearts back to Him. A few, like Alisha, were listening.
God told Alisha to go visit a single mom and her son. Gloria's husband had died and with no one to help her, she and Rusty faced starvation. They had just enough food left for one small meal when Alisha showed up and asked for dinner.
“You can see that I have very little to offer”, Gloria sighed, “but I also have very little to lose. One final meal isn't much for me and Rusty, so please, take what we have, and if you can, plead with God for our lives!”
Knowing that God had sent her to Gloria for this reason, Alisha was confident. She accepted the meal and prayed. Just as expected, God answered and miraculously provided for Gloria and Rusty.
“Serving God is pretty cool!”, thought Alisha. “Seeing how happy Rusty and Gloria are is so fulfilling! Thank You, Lord for using me!” But just as the three of them were getting settled in, Rusty fell ill. Gloria and Alisha prayed, but Rusty died.
“Did you come here to curse me?” Gloria raged at Alisha. “How could you let such a tragedy happen? It would have been better if Rusty and I had starved to death months ago than for me to lose my precious son this way!”
“Oh God!”, cried Alisha, “What were You thinking? Everything was going so well, and now… How can I convince people to turn to You when You let Rusty die? I'm finished!”
“Trust Me, Alisha. I've only begun to use you. Go back to Gloria and I will restore Rusty's life. Then go to the mountains and you will continue to see My power.”
“Wow, Lord! That was amazing! As long as I live, I'll never forget the look on Gloria's face when Rusty sat up and smiled at her! You and me, huh? We can do anything! Bring on those false prophets and their phoney gods! We'll show them!”
So, full of confidence, Alisha set out ready for the next task God had for her. “Hey you lying liars”, Alisha jeered “Wanna have a little contest to see who serves the Real God? Let's both set up alters and see whose God can light the fire beneath.”
Then a few hours later: “Your pants are on fire, but your wood isn't!” Alisha laughed at her own school-yard taunt. “Maybe your god is asleep and can't hear you, try yelling a little louder!”
And at the end of the day: “Dang! Too bad your god didn't show up. That offering would have roasted up nice.”
“Now it's my turn, but hey, let's make this a little more fun. I'll drench my alter with water. No, even better, I'll dig a moat around my alter, drench it and fill the moat with water. Ready to see what the True God can do?”
Whoosh! Before Alisha could think of another joke, a massive fire fell from heaven! The offering was gone, the alter was gone, the water was gone! Alisha blinked and rubbed her eyes trying to adjust as the brightness left as quickly as it had come. She was sure she would see the false prophets and all the people praising God and thanking her for showing them the truth so clearly. The Lord had done it! His power is undeniable! “Wait!, she stammered, They're not worshiping! They're threatening! They don't want to thank me; they want to kill me! They are going to kill me!”
Alisha ran and ran until she could run no more. She found a shade tree and lay down under it, asleep the moment her head touched the soft grass. After a while, Alisha awakened to a gentle patting on her shoulder. “Eat something, My sweet. I know it's hard, but I have more to show you.”
“You have got to be kidding! I am done! If that display didn't change their minds, what will? I gave it my best, but I failed. I'm all alone and I can't take it anymore! They are going to kill me! Please, I just need to go back to sleep. Just let me die now!”
The next morning, Alisha felt a hand stroking her forehead. “I brought you coffee, beloved. Here have something to eat.”
“Oh Lord, I am so sorry!”, Alisha sobs, “I'm such a failure! You! You were amazing! That fire! Your power! But it's no use. They won't listen. They'll kill me, that's what they'll do! I'm scared, Lord. I'm scared and I'm alone and I'm exhausted. They want to kill me, and they'll probably torture me first. Please, have mercy Lord! Let it be over. Just let me die here under this tree.”
“I understand your feelings. Remember you are precious to Me! And you're not alone. I have some help for you. Come, meet your new partner. On the way I want to show you something.”
Alisha shakily tries to get to her feet, “Please, no more crowds! I couldn't face them again!”
He helps her up and gives her a hug. “No crowds, just you and Me, c'mon.”
He brings her to a crevice in the mountain. An earthquake shakes the ground, but Alisha doesn't hear God's voice in the rumble. A big storm blows by, but she doesn't hear God's voice in the wind or the rain. When all is quiet, she hears a still small voice. Alisha hears God's voice in the whisper.
“My dear, do you understand what I'm trying to teach you? You worship Me because I am strong and powerful, and you are right. But I am so much more! I don't always work the way you anticipate or the way you want Me to. You were great back there with the fire! Okay, a little proud, but that's alright; you showed so much confidence in Me! Remember Gloria? You didn't understand what I was doing then either, but the miracle of bringing Rusty back to life changed that mother's heart much more than just providing them with a few meals. Even now, she's spreading My love and hearts are turning back to Me."
“Sometimes I'm loud and flashy, sometimes I'm quiet and personal. Seldom am I what you are expecting. That doesn't mean you have failed! You did just what I asked of you! Well done, Alisha!
“There's more ahead for you. You still won't always understand but remember when things don't work the way you think they should, it doesn't mean I'm not working. Trust Me! You are not a failure!"