In the book of Kings, chapter 19, there is a story about the prophet Elijah. Elijah is running for his life. He lies down under a broom tree and he prays, “It is enough now, O Lord, I don’t want to live…” When God responds, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”, Elijah answers, “… the Israelites have forsaken your covenant, thrown down your altars, and killed your prophets with the sword. I alone am left…”
Elijah feels like he is alone in his ministry. Elijah feels alone in his life. He feels so alone that he doesn’t want to go on living.
As a pastor, it is such a privilege to get to be invited into people’s lives. Often, I get to hear some awesome stories – beautiful celebrations. But I also hear about great tragedy. When people who have been going through hell, come to talk with me, often I’ll ask, “who do you have supporting you? Who else can you talk to about this?” Too many times they say no one…
God goes on to tell the prophet Elijah that actually, there are 7,000 others – “who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” God is telling him, you are not alone – you are not alone… There are others who are in this with you.
Some of the most powerful words we can hear are… “I’m with you. You are not alone. I am here for you.” However, some of the toughest words for us to say are “I need you,” or “I need help.” We don’t like the idea of dependence. But God created us to need him, and God created us to need each other. It is difficult to walk the journey alone.
I know it is not easy to risk giving of ourselves – allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. I know community is messy. We fall short, and sometimes we hurt each other. Community takes forgiveness. It takes patience and prayer. And it takes love.
But what a blessing to know that we don’t have to go it alone! And what a blessing to discover that when it comes to forgiveness, patience, prayer and love – it is in giving that we most fully receive.
Let us pray: Loving God, grant us your grace and courage, that we might discover or strengthen the community that is already in our midst. Help us to give fully of ourselves that we would be a catalysis of your love. Amen.