Are You Renewed to Re-engage?
A few months ago, I wrote in a blog about hitting the pause button. It was a metaphor for those times, usually encountered unexpectedly, when our lives are brought to an abrupt halt and we must put most everything on pause and simply stop, trust, and rest in the assurance of God’s promises. The blog concluded by speaking to the need to intentionally take Sabbath rests to learn to lean into God’s peace and provision rather than our own strength and resources. So let that be our starting point today.
My mind turns to Elijah. A few of the most inspiring episodes in Elijah’s life are chronicled in 1 Kings 18-19. In these two chapters, the Scriptures tell about Elijah’s confrontation with King Ahab and the prophets of Baal. God sends fire down upon the altar on Mount Carmel, and that event leads to the destruction of 450 false prophets. Then the LORD sends rain after a drought of more than three years. When King Ahab’s evil wife Jezebel immediately commits to kill Elijah “by this time tomorrow,” Elijah flees. When he runs until he can run no further, he lies down and pleads for God to take his life. Instead, God sends an angel to minister to his physical needs. After rest and receiving renewed strength, he continues to flee. He ends up nearly 300 miles away, hiding in a cave. Emotionally and mentally exhausted, Elijah recounts his faithfulness to God; and in a state of exhaustion and retreat, he again pleads with God to just take his life, to let him be done. Talk about hitting the pause button, Elijah hit it hard! However, even though Elijah just felt done with it all, God was not done with Elijah. Instead, God gave Elijah renewed strength and a renewed assignment which included training his successor for the sake of the future of Israel.
Have you been feeling a bit like Elijah? Perhaps you served in your church faithfully for many years. Then when the pandemic hit or some other recent event in your life, you went into pause mode and realized that you felt tired or frustrated. In times like that we tend to, instead of focusing on God’s faithfulness, begin recounting to God our faithfulness. Thank God for His graciousness. He patiently listens and gives us time to rest, but finally He asks us like He did of Elijah, “What are you doing here?” Then He challenges us with new assignments, to actively engaged, to fill in the gap, and to come alongside others more newly anointed of God to be their support team, to encourage them, and mentor them until God decides our work here is done.
As we face this new year, I encourage you to consider, “What are you doing here?” Then prayerfully listen to God for that next assignment He is giving you. If may be something different than how you served in the past. Look for where He is calling you to serve in this season of your life, where He is challenging you to grow. Be willing to shift from park or neutral into drive. Trust Him for renewed vision, vector, and vigor, and then actively re-engage for His glory!