What are you doing here?

Fear: 1. A distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil or pain, whether the threat is real or imagined. 2. The feeling of being afraid. 3. A sense of foreboding, apprehension, consternation, dismay, dread, terror, fright, panic, horror or trepidation.

There’s a story in the Bible about a man called Elijah. After two spiritual victories, Elijah experienced the depths of fatigue and discouragement so badly that the Bible says he “walked for a day into the desert until he came to a juniper tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die!” He said: I have had enough Lord. Take my life.”

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve cried out to God: “I’ve had enough! That’s it! That’s enough! I can’t take it any longer!”

Elijah was discouraged and distressed to the point of wanting to give up because he had been intimidated, harassed and bullied by Jezebel so much that he had become afraid.

I wonder if I thought back over the times I felt the most discouraged and the most ready to give up…Was it because of fear?

Fear is the distressing emotion that happens when I assume the worst. Fear goes hand in hand with worry. (And I’ve already blogged about what a worry wart I am!) Whether the things I’m afraid of are real or imagined, fear is debilitating and is enough to stop me in my tracks and cause instant discouragement. It happens often.

When I’m at my most discouraged, the voice of the enemy is so much louder than God’s voice. When I’m alone, or when I’m sitting in the desert under my juniper tree (feeling sorry for myself), it’s hard to hear from see find God, yet the enemy seems to be everywhere. I know that when I feel the most drained from running and from trying to keep up with all the troubles in my life that the enemy sees how tired I am and that’s when he speaks. And he speaks lies. And those lies (and thoughts) weigh me down even more. And sometimes I even believe them.

The enemy shouts: “You’re surrounded! There’s no way out! You’re useless! It’s too hard! Better people than you have already quit and given up! Your circumstances are impossible! Don’t bother trying! It’s your turn to stop! You’re a failure! Give up! There’s something wrong with you! God is disappointed in you.”

One thing about fear is that it is often loud.

And one thing about God is that He is often quiet.

“What are you doing here?” He whispered to Elijah.

Like He did for Elijah, God doesn’t always reveal himself to me in loud or powerful or miraculous ways. In fact, if I only look for God in the big things (conferences, powerful guest speakers, exciting church services) I may miss Him when He gently whispers in the quietness of my heart – when I’m still and quiet and have stopped long enough to wait expectantly for Him to speak.

When Elijah was exhausted lying under that tree, God sent an angel and strengthened him. Next time I’m exhausted, lying underneath my tree, I will open my ears and listen for that strengthening voice asking me: “What are you doing here? Do not fear! Remember Nicki: you’re free!”

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