Why are you here?

I love football season.  Our family has a lot of fun watching college football games at home with a bunch of snacks and hot buffalo wings!  It’s actually more about the food than the game sometimes.

Imagine watching your favorite football team and seeing the star player walk off the field just before a big play.  The coach would be asking the player in total amazement: “Why are you here? Get back on the field!”

Sometimes, we walk off the field just before God is about to use us.

The past five days of reading through the Bible took us from the highest peak of Israel’s glory with King Solomon to the lowest valley as the temple and walls of Jerusalem are burned and destroyed.  In the middle of all this is Elijah’s story in I Kings.  Even Elijah, the great prophet of God, “walked off the field” after becoming discouraged.

Elijah had one of his greatest victories on Mount Carmel in I Kings, chapter 18. He experienced God’s power as fire came down from the sky.  Then, Elijah prayed for rain because they hadn’t seen rain for 3 years, and got absolutely drenched.  This amazing man of God should have been unshakable after all of that.

But after Elijah came down from the mountain, he ran to hide in the wilderness because his life was threatened.  He hit the lowest point in his life.  How does Elijah go from such victory to the point where he’s telling God: “I have had enough, Lord. Take my life.”?

The Word of the Lord told Elijah to leave his cave and experience God.  God, in a gentle whisper, asked Elijah:  “Why are you here?”.  Why was he hiding in the cave of self-pity when the blessing of God had just rained down on him?  God still had work for Elijah.  But Elijah had checked out on God.

In his book:  Elijah – A Man of Heroism and Humility, Chuck Swindoll writes about Elijah’s roller-coaster ride of emotions and brings out a powerful point:

Often we are more enamored with the gifts God has given us than with the Giver himself.  When the Lord brings us rest and refreshment, we become more grateful for the rest and refreshment than for the God who allows it.  When God gives us a good friend, we become absorbed in that friendship and so preoccupied with the friend that we forget it was our gracious God who gave us the friend.  We so easily focus on the wrong things.

When we focus on the gift rather than the Giver, we will be let down.  We can’t put our hope in relationships, jobs, or material things.  God wants to use us, but He won’t if we check out on Him.

Elijah returned to God’s work and the Lord did great things through him.

Daily prayer and quiet time with Jesus, our Lord, helps reset our priorities.  So if you’re discouraged, if you’ve “walked off the field”, set your focus back on the Creator.  Get back in the game, because God has some big plans for you.

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