Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I'm the Only One Left

"And the word of the Lord came to him: 'What are you doing here, Elijah?'
He replied, 'I have been very zealous for the Lord God Almighty. The Israelites have rejected your covenant, broken down your altars, and put your prophets to death with the sword. I am the only one left, and now they are trying to kill me, too.'" (I Kings 19:9-10)

When I read this, I imagine a little bit of a whine showing up in Elijah's voice. It's a good lesson for me to read when I start climbing up on my high horse to cry about how much I've done and how much I'm not appreciated...etc.

I've read a forum lately where some Christians are constantly whining about how much they do, how much they alone understand the true Word of the Lord, and how much they wish people would just listen to them and learn the RIGHT way to be a Christian. One man, in particular, feels no one else but he has the answers. You wouldn't believe how often he has to suffer fools and their "wacky theology". But the problem is, he comes off sounding like a two-year-old with that whiny voice all moms want to run away from at the end of a long day.

In his humble (oh yes?) opinion, all holidays are filled with hypocritical reasons why they are celebrated, all happy Christians are two-faced and not real, and he rants on and on in his cynical whine about the Christians that just don't measure up to him and his perfect theological POV. If someone offers that perhaps his tone of voice or choice of words is a bit offensive (or makes them want to paddle him), he whines some more about how unfair the moderators are to him (and like an elephant,he never forgets the "wrongs" done to him--even posts the dates of the wrongs on his avatar), how mature and smart he is compared to other Christians who frequent the forum, and how much he can't stand "fakes".

I had a professor once who told me that if a minister spends a lot of time focusing on a certain "sin", maybe we should wonder if that's the sin the minister himself struggles with. I've never forgotten that advice. (You know: "I think he doth protest too much"). I remember that advice every time I read this theology forum expert's opinions. He is tough and hard and alot of people are afraid to be on the wrong side of him, but I think he's mostly a bully with all the failings he rails that everyone else has as being the REAL reasons behind his sleepless nights.

To me, there's nothing more off-putting than a Christian who takes on the Elijah syndrome permanently. It's one thing to have moments or days when you feel down or alone. We all feel dejected at times, but dwelling and wallowing in that attitude is so...well, immature.

I like what God asks Elijah: "What are you doing here, Elijah?" And after Elijah whines, you can almost hear God sigh. He then tells Elijah that He (God) is going to send Elijah a helper and He (God) is also reserving 7,000 people who have not bowed to Baal or mouths that have not kissed Baal. In other words, Elijah wasn't really the only one left to do God's work, was he?

My prayer today is that God will come find me when I'm hiding in my corner, thumb stuck in my mouth, whining that "I'm the only one left" who will do anything for the Lord. I hope He'll ask me the same question He asked Elijah: "What are you doing here, Dee?" Maybe that will snap me back to the reality that God Almighty uses many others and I'm not the best, or the worst, or the "only". "And, oh my goodness, Lord: Please keep me from whining on the theology forums!"


Yvonne Blake said...

yes...too often, we think no one else has the same problems we do. It's pride, isn't it?...wanting to have attention...wanting others to feel sorry for us...or wanting God to feel sorry for us.

Thank you for writing this.

Joanne Sher said...

Excellent, Dee. Whining is so awful - and I do it WAY too much!

Sherri Ward said...

I like your point - that Elijah wasn't really the only one left. We often feel we are missing out on what is "due" us - I even jokingly suggested as much to my hubby - I told him not to even get started down the "what's due me" path cause I'm way ahead of him! Joking aside, I'm glad the Lord taps us on the shoulder when we get whiny for real.