The Reckoning

So many of the scars that formed from wounds during the last few years are just starting to show.

There was a lot of hurt and a lot of anger that so many people experienced. So how do we move forward? How do we heal?

I know for me, there has been a level of stress I personally experienced unlike any other time of my life. I was hurt not just by many family and friends but also by trusted organizations and media, tech, the list just goes on and on. I couldn’t really talk about it either. Not to many family and friends or even on social media platforms.

It’s hard to even describe what that felt like. The world that I thought I lived in was not at all what it had seemed. I was being lied to, gaslight, bullied and silenced. It was terrifying to see it, and so odd to not have everyone else see it too. We were co-existing with those around us in two very different realities.

Take masks for example. I had been chastised and ridiculed for not wearing a cloth mask or forcing one on my children (including my 2 year old!). I had followed the science and listened to the experts from OSHA that explained that a cloth mask could not filter out the aerosolized Covid virus that was 16,000 times smaller than a human hair. Sure, if you cough or sneeze into a cloth mask, some of the wetness is not going to get through but within 15 minutes of being in a room without good ventilation with someone infected just breathing, it was of no use. Further, it gave people a false sense of protection.

This is widely accepted as common knowledge now, but for over a year this was lied about by trusted health sources. The absurdity of a group of kids playing soccer outdoors with their masks on and seeing “officials” at games walking around to parents sitting well over 6 feet apart OUTDOORS and telling them they had to pull their masks up or leave the games is something forever burned into my memory.

Yet none of these people or authorities have ever apologized or admitted they were wrong to bully us the way they did. We’re just supposed to move on. Like an abuser to their victim, “come on, it wasn’t that bad. Stop being hurt already. I can’t tolerate your pain.”

I could go on and on about the things I was ridiculed over that turned out I was right about, but the people that know already know, and those that still don’t can’t tolerate to hear it.

Yet we carry these bruises, these scars. We’ve been deeply wounded and it’s really hard to trust again. Not just the authorities that lied to us, but family and friends that deeply wounded us too, but can’t seem to bring themselves to see our wounds.

I was reading the Bible recently, as I do daily, and the story of Elijah the prophet was understood to me in a new way.

Here is this man of God that takes on great personal sacrifice to himself to tell others the truth. He’s hated for it. He’s literally hated. Especially by the corrupt king and queen who have all of the other prophets murdered because they can’t bear to hear the truth of what they said.

So God withholds the rain. There is a huge drought which causes a great famine. A famine so great, we are told of the widow woman who God chooses to care for Elijah, is about to use the last of her supplies to make a loaf of bread for her and her son and then they both will die of hunger.

God takes care of His prophet and this woman of course and they do not run out of food. Much later we jump to the great climactic scene where God shows His power to everyone.

While we can’t know of course exactly what Elijah was thinking or feeling in these moments, we have some clues. He wasn’t scared. This was it. This was the big show down between God and the wicked authorities and idol worshipers of the time. Elijah KNEW what God could do. He was confident. He was ready to show the world the truth and watch the wool be pulled off of their faces.

Elijah challenges king Ahab and his prophets of idol worship to see whose god is the one true God. He tells them to go gather sticks and prepare a sacrifice and call upon their god to light the fire.

There were 450 prophets of Baal, and Elijah was the only prophet for the one true God. He was in his moment. This was his God’s moment to shine and he watched and waited, knowing full well that their god was not able to light the fire. He watched and waited and mocked them to “call louder” to their god.

Eventually, he poured buckets of water (which remember was incredibly scarce!) onto his sacrifice. This is important because it’s showing just how confident he was. He KNOWS that truth is on his side and he’s making a grand show of it. Of course God’s fire is no match for the water poured over the wood and Elijah watches as the truth is shown to everyone that day.

Not only did God consume the sacrifice and the wood but also the stones and the soil and even the pool of water. The people saw the truth on full display and there was absolutely no denying it.

Elijah must have been thinking, “finally! Now there is NO WAY they can deny it, they saw with their own eyes the absolute power of God and there’s no way they can go back to worshiping Baal. He seizes the moment to capture the 450 false prophets of Baal and have them put to death. And the sky starts to storm…it’s finally going to rain!!

Elijah must have felt great. He must have thought that now that the eyes were opened, things would be different. The people of Israel will repent and turn their hearts back to the real God, including the authorities. That’s not what happens.

The wicked queen Jezebel, who had God’s prophets murdered digs her heels in deeper. She does not repent. She is faced with undeniable evidence of truth and she sends a message to Elijah that what happened to the 450 prophets of Baal will happen to him.

And Elijah runs and hides. This man, who was extremely confident in the scene before is now running away from it all. And haven’t we all felt like this?

We’ve known the truth. We’re confident in it and we’ve just been waiting for it to come to light to the masses (because truth does always come out in the end). We think that once it does, it will change things. In doing so we forget the stubbornness of the human heart and we set ourselves up to feel like Elijah. Frustrated. Defeated. Wondering why we even bother to keep up the fight.

Elijah prays to God to take him now. It’s enough, he basically says. I’ve felt that. I’ve felt so frustrated with this world and the people in it I’ve felt ready for the Second Coming. I’ve wanted to just get away from it all and just escape with my family and friends.

And we see so much of who God is in the gentle way He takes care of Elijah. He feeds him. He lets Elijah know that though he feels all alone, there are 7,000 believers among the nation of Israel. And I think Elijah needed to know that. All his work he’d done. He hadn’t failed. There were still 7,000 believers of God out there and God had more work for him to do. He refreshed Elijah with food and with a purpose. And He gave Elijah a protégé, a friend.

And when we think about it, God takes care of us in this way too. There have been many people in my life who have hurt me, but there have also been many people I’ve grown closer to that have helped me when I’ve felt the burden of knowing the truth was too heavy and too much.

And the story of Elijah is a preview of the story of Jesus. And in Jesus’s death, more hearts were turned and still today, more hearts continue to turn.

I found great encouragement in Elijah’s story today. We may feel like the task we are up against is too great and that we are not up to it. We forget we are not working alone and that God uses us in powerful ways to turn the hearts of those around us. We may never get that big show down moment. Yet, often it’s not in those big powerful moments that hearts are changed anyway, but rather in the diligent work we do day after day that convinces people of truth.

God showed Elijah in the wilderness His power by a wind so great that it tore the rocks, and then an earthquake and a fire. But Elijah knew the Lord’s presence was not in the wind, the earthquake or the fire. Then there was a gentle whisper. This was where Elijah felt God’s presence. bz

We may not ever feel righted for the wrongs we’ve experienced the last couple years. Surely though, God’s purpose is still being realized and I have to wonder how many people have come to have true faith in this crisis. It might seem like everyone’s hearts have gone in the opposite direction because that’s all of what we see and hear but God knows just how many of His true followers there are. And He sees our pain and our hurt and I believe has provided us the little community of truth tellers that we have.

May you read this and feel refreshed in your purpose. For our true purpose is to spread the gospel, and sometimes I need that reminder.

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