Thursday, May 21, 2015

Lessons from an Earthquake: The Voice

The following is from a BMW who works in Nepal, and was there during the earthquakes on April 25th and May 12th.


Sometimes the greatest lessons are learned through the greatest hardships. The refining fires of trials bring out things that would never have come to the surface otherwise.

Such is the situation I found myself in when my world began to shake. It's almost like the earthquakes loosened the rocky soil of my heart causing landslides of filth to pour forth to the surface, ready to be cleaned out so that I can be more like Christ. I don't want to forget these precious lessons.

"And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice."
1 Kings 19:11-12 

In this passage, Elijah had just endured a major trial. He was exhausted, burned out, and ready to quit. The Lord, in His patience, mercy and compassion, ministered to Elijah by feeding him and giving him time to rest. But now the Lord was going to teach Elijah a few things.

Elijah was convinced he was all alone in this battle. He thought there was no one else. And he thought this was the end. He felt like a failure and it seemed God wasn't working. If God was working, why wasn't there anyone else to fight the battle with Elijah? Why didn't God just wipe Ahab and Jezebel off the planet? Just send down fire like He did on Mount Carmel or swallow them up by opening the ground in an earthquake like He did those who opposed Moses?

He Is Working

As I read this passage, I had to admit I was guilty of the same mentality. No, not that I want fire and judgment and earthquakes. But that I want God to do things big and visible and obvious and...

We all like to see immediate and powerful results. I would love it if the people's hearts here were softened so much from this tragedy that hundreds or even thousands opened their hearts to the Gospel and turned from their idolatry. I would love to report dozens of salvations and how people are just begging for truth as a result of their world being turned upside down because of this tragedy. I want wind and earthquakes and fire!

Delivery of shelter kits

Yes, sometimes God does use wind and earthquakes and fire. But sometimes His work is still and quiet. A whisper. We are tempted to think He isn't working. We are tempted to think nothing is being done because we don't see it.

What Elijah didn't see... 7000 prophets who had not bowed the knee to Baal. He also didn't see the work the Lord still had for him to do. And he didn't see the blessing the Lord was about to send his way with Elisha. God was working. And we must trust that God is working in hearts here in Nepal. Yes, some hearts we are able to see have softened. Some hearts have hardened. Some people are asking why. Others are blaming Christians. We must trust the Lord of the harvest, that He is working in hearts with His still small voice doing things that we may not see.

Are you trusting that God is working even when you cannot see immediate results?
Are you making expectations on how He should do His work?

Escaping the Chaos

As I looked at this passage again, I realized something else. Elijah was in the midst of chaos... wind that tore up a mountain??? An earthquake??? Fire??? Chaos. Can you imagine the noise? I can imagine the earthquake noise. When the earthquake happened here, it was loud and rumbling. The whole earth groaned. Buildings collapsed and rubble crashed down. Metal twisted and doors cracked. People screamed.

And after the earthquake? Still chaos.

But through this passage I am reminded there is an oasis from the chaos in the still small voice. I imagine it was practically a whisper. His voice. He wasn't in the chaos, but He could be heard in spite of the chaos. So each day, Oh how precious it was, to take some time apart to listen to His voice by getting alone with Him in the Word and in prayer! How easy it is to neglect the still small voice in the midst of chaos! And how easy it is to think we will not be able to hear Him among the noise. But if we are listening, He is there... whispering. Helping. Seeking and strengthening. We must not let chaos and noise distract us from the voice.

Getting food to hungry villages

For me, all the emergency ministry that came afterwards was the chaos. It was necessary things, but it was things that would have to be done at a moments notice. It was things outside my comfort zone and my schedule driven nature. It was seeing the devastation and hearing the earthquake alarm and the 120+ aftershocks rattling every nerve. But how I treasured escaping the chaos by getting alone with Him! His still small voice stilled my noisy, fearful, and broken heart.

Are you taking the time to escape your chaos... your earthquake?
Are you spending time with Him in His Word listening for His voice?

Hearing the Voice

The voice of the Lord came to Elijah again. "What doest thou here, Elijah?"

Has God ever asked you that? "What are you doing here? What is your purpose?"

I have asked myself that these past three weeks... Why am I here? Sometimes we need these questions to help us refocus. It is tempting to get wrapped up, especially now, in thinking we are here for ministry. Yes, we do ministry while we are here, but that's not my purpose. My purpose isn't to get food to starving people or build shelters for the homeless or even start churches and teach children's class. My purpose is to glorify God. In every task He sets before me, I am to glorify Him. In every situation that arises, I must glorify Him. That certainly shortens my to-do list. Can you imagine posting THAT to-do list on the fridge each day? One item... glorify God.

Why are you where you are?
Is His voice whispering to you to help you refocus on your purpose?
Ask yourself... "What doest thou here, ____________?"

1 comment:

Jessi said...

Thank you for the refocus. I am rewriting my to-do list this morning. We are still praying for you in Kenya.