One More Question

Asking One More Question
I Kings 18 is the record of Elijah’s greatest victory.  He had challenged the prophets of Baal and God had demonstrated that He was and is the only great God.  I Kings 19 is the record of Elijah’s greatest despair.  Exhausted, hungry, and living with shattered expectations, Elijah gave in to self absorption and self pity.  God’s still small voice, that was so full of power, finally allowed Elijah to move forward again in his service to the King.  It is an amazing story of man’s evil, God working through his servant, our humanity, and the wisdom of God.  I would encourage you to take the time to read both of these chapters.
What I would like to point out is verse 4 in chapter 19.  “But he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness and came and sat under a broom tree”.  One minute Elijah is in front of the nation, standing for God, and winning a decisive victory.  The next minute he is seeking to be alone and ruminating under a broom tree.  How many people, who just saw fire come down from heaven and consume the sacrifice, realized where Elijah was at this time?  How many people realized that Elijah needed encouragement and strength?  My guess is very few, if any.  How could they?  Elijah left and went away by himself.  Elijah did not share with anyone that he was now struggling because nothing really had changed.  The fact that Elijah did not share and that the last picture they had of Elijah was one of great strength and victory, led to Elijah feeling he was all alone.
Christmas is a time of great joy and family.  Sometimes, though, some of those closest too us find that they are under a dark cloud of depression, anxiety, or shattered expectations.  Too often they are suffering all alone, even when they are in the midst of crowds.  How can we help?  Sometimes it is as simple as just asking that one more question.  Asking that one more question that communicates to those in need that you are not just being polite, you really want to hear how they are doing.  It may take listening to how they answer, what their body language is saying, and then asking a clarifying question that finally leads them to open up to you.  It takes having compassion so that you really want to get involved and you truly want to hear.
If you are the one suffering, you are right, people do not want to have you bum them out for Christmas. They do not want to be dragged down by your troubles.  But, they also do not want you to suffer.  They want you to be full of joy.  So, I would encourage you to not simply share your troubles, but honestly seek to have a heart that truly desires to find joy.  Be listening for that still small voice of God that seeks to provide you with wisdom to climb out of your troubles and into his light.  Share your situation with others but do so looking for the spiritual truths that outweigh your sorrows and troubles.  God may not solve your issues as much as he might give you truths that are far greater than those things that are dragging you down.  Seek those truths.  Cling to them and allow God to use your friends to speak joy into your lives.  After all, what trouble or what sorrow is so great that the truth that the God of Heaven came down to save his people from their sins can’t outweigh it?
In 1964, Simon and Garfunkel, released an album with the song, “Sound of Silence” on it.  The album flopped, but about two years later the song caught on and the duo, who had broken up, got back together and became stars.  The song is about people not talking and not listening to one another.  People being caught up in what is not important and not learning how loud silence can be.  The first line speaks to a great lie, “Hello, darkness, my old friend,”.  Often it is easier to live in our sorrow and struggle.  We know that darkness.  We have learned to cope with that darkness.  To reach out and seek joy is scary and full of new pains that we do not know.  But it is a lie to think that darkness is your friend.  It is a lie to think that silence is better than listening to voices that can hurt you.  God created us to be in fellowship with him and with others.  Reach out.  If someone hurts you or does not hear you.  Reach out to someone else.  Do not believe that lie that darkness is the safest place.  Listen for the still small voice of God that is found in his Word and in the loving advice from friends.



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