1 Kings 19:9,11-16
When Elijah reached Horeb, the mountain of God, he went into the cave and spent the night in it. Then he was told, ‘Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ Then the Lord himself went by. There came a mighty wind, so strong it tore the mountains and shattered the rocks before the Lord. But the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind came an earthquake. But the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire. But the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire there came the sound of a gentle breeze. And when Elijah heard this, he covered his face with his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then a voice came to him, which said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He replied, ‘I am filled with jealous zeal for the Lord of Hosts, because the sons of Israel have deserted you, broken down your altars and put your prophets to the sword. I am the only one left and they want to kill me.’
‘Go,’ the Lord said, ‘go back by the same way to the wilderness of Damascus. You are to go and anoint Hazael as king of Aram. You are to anoint Jehu son of Nimshi as king of Israel, and to anoint Elisha son of Shaphat, of Abel Meholah, as prophet to succeed you.’
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘You have learnt how it was said: You must not commit adultery. But I say this to you: if a man looks at a woman lustfully, he has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye should cause you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; for it will do you less harm to lose one part of you than to have your whole body thrown into hell. And if your right hand should cause you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; for it will do you less harm to lose one part of you than to have your whole body go to hell.
‘It has also been said: Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a writ of dismissal. But I say this to you: everyone who divorces his wife, except for the case of fornication, makes her an adulteress; and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.’
I have been most zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. But the children of Israel have forsaken your covenant
I took my DMV drive test this week – and I failed it, for the third time. In America, you get three tries on a permit before they make you take the written test again. The test requires that you make no more than fifteen errors. I made nine. Yes, I had the same reaction too – so why did I fail? The lady examiner turns to me at the end of the test and says, “You made only nine errors but I’m not going to pass you because you don’t check your blind spots consistently. You check them just some of the time”. Ordinarily, I would be alright with this explanation, except that the previous time I took the test, they said to me, “You’re doing everything perfectly, but you’re far too careful. You need to relax. I’m not passing you because you’re not smooth enough”. So you can understand my frustration. I walked out of that test lot seething, and I confess I gave in to my anger and started cussing and swearing. I had prayed hard prior to taking the test that I would be filled with calm, peace and love, whatever the outcome. All that came undone as I stormed out of there. I’m not an unsafe driver. There are heaps of people on the road who are blatantly reckless. And yet the DMV passes them! Why not I? It just seems grossly unjust. Am I missing something? I feel like such a loser!
I can feel Elijah’s frustration. He’s done everything and more! In today’s reading, he’s coming off a great week, showing God’s power to the unbelieving, bringing rain to ease the drought and fire to light the offering. And yet he feels like a loser. Like he has failed. Like he’s overwhelmed. In times like this, you really do feel like giving up. I feel like I will never be able to drive legitimately. Elijah feels like he will never be able to bring about a true conversion of the people. In trying to be good Christians through prayer, reflection and loving consideration of our fellow men, it can sometimes feel as if we are being thwarted at every turn. We want to give in to anger and throw our hands up in disgust. Bring it all to God. He listens, He understands and He comforts. Everything has its place in time and His timing is never off. Once we understand this, then as hard as it might be, get right back into the game again. The only way to get back in the saddle after you’ve fallen off is to mount it wholeheartedly! I’ve already signed up to get a new permit. Maybe it’ll be fourth-time lucky for me! Pray for me please!
(Today’s Oxygen by Sharon Soo)
Prayer: We pray for all those who are experiencing setbacks. Keep praying and persevering. God will not forsake those who place their faith in Him.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks for the Holy Spirit, who gives us the encouragement to persevere down the paths meant for us, and the wisdom to walk away from the paths that are not.