Go Reclaim

1 Kings 19:1-18  November 5, 2017 – Confirmation Sunday and All Saints’ Sunday

Elijah is in a crisis of faith. He is in a spot he’s never been before. God has always been with him and now, he’s not so sure. Now that Queen Jezebel has said the small-g gods can take her life if she doesn’t kill Elijah, and she’s killed all the other prophets, he’s in a deep depression. He’s not eating, he’s sleeping instead, and he’s praying to God to die. He feels abandoned and alone.

An angel of the Lord brings him food and water and some 40 days later he’s told to stand in the cave on Mt. Horeb, because the Lord was about to pass by. And there was wind, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; 12 and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence.

Did Elijah look for God in the wind, in the earthquake, in the fire? Or did Elijah think it was more chaos coming coming to disrupt his life? Is that your experience of looking for God – only chaos surrounds and threatens? So often, for so many of us, our experiences of God are more like how that passage ends: a sound of sheer silence.

And I am willing to bet that most of you in this room don’t like silence. You’ve got ear buds or television or the internet, Youtube. Or perhaps you’ve got kids and Spotify, podcasts and itunes.

Because silence lays bare, exposes our noisy brains, our endless worries, our harsh inner monologues. Silence can be deafening.

What happens in the silence? Does God finally get a word in edgewise? Do you hear things you don’t want to hear?

Because when it’s all settled down and that deafening sound of sheer silence is rattling around that cave and in Elijah’s brain, he wraps himself up and goes to the mouth of the cave where he speaks to God.

“What are you doing here, Elijah?” He answered, “Listen, I’ve been working my heart out for God and everyone keeps going against you, and they’ve destroyed all the places of worship, and all the prophets have been murdered and I’m all alone and now they’re trying to kill me.”

Now listen closely to God’s response to Elijah. He doesn’t tell Elijah it will all be ok, and that this has all happened for a reason. God doesn’t tell Elijah he is blessed and to run back to the safety of family and friends. God tells Elijah to get busy. God tells Elijah to anoint 2 new kings and, get this, to anoint a new prophet, Elisha. To replace himself! Oh, and by the way, you’re not the only one. There are 7000 who still remain faithful.

Friends, confirmation youth: hear this. You are not alone. Even in the deafening sound of sheer silence, God has not abandoned you. You are not alone in your misery, in your deep depression, in your grief. Even when it seems like your life is crumbling apart from yet another earthquake, God is with you. And God will tell you what to do next. It might not be as clear as the direction Elijah got today, but God will lead you. And God will always be with you. You won’t always hear an easy word from God, but God will remain faithful to you. This is a life of faith. Go. Reclaim it.