Over the past couple of months I have been journeying with Elijah in 1 Kings chapters 17-19 in the Bible. I’ve found it illuminating to reflect on the human side of Elijah through his ups and downs, his struggles and successes. His reliance on God for his sustenance, his faith in God to raise the widow’s son, his confidence in God when confronting King Ahab, and his trust that God would respond to him when he prayed for fire. However, during these miraculous stories we can read about how Elijah struggled, how he felt alone, abandoned, and weak. He even asked for death. He was a man who had human struggles but tried to stay close to God and be aware of his presence.
The other day I read the verses in chapter 19 where Elijah calls Elisha to join him and learn what it means to be a prophet of the Lord. It wasn’t the friendliest invitation but it was the response of Elisha that caught my attention. Elisha responds with a lot of energy, a willingness to leave everything and join Elijah in an unknown adventure. Before leaving to follow Elijah, Elisha kills and eats his work oxen with family and friends – a fond farewell dinner, but also a celebration.
We’ve now got our visas and are leaving the country in under a week to start a new season in South Africa. We’re full of energy and excitement for getting there and living life in a new country. We can’t wait to see how we’re going to partner with God to see more of heaven on earth but at the same time it’s hard to leave. We received an email from a friend who compared our journey to Bilbo Baggins’ journey. “Dark days, glorious days; wonderful feasts , strange foods; kind people, different people; tight corners and incredible freedoms”. With all this in mind though, sometimes we feel like we want to stay in the Shire, where it’s comfortable, safe, and we know how life works.
At the front of my journal there is a painting of the first balloon crossing of the English Channel on the 7th January, 1785. Alongside this picture is a blurb that says:
“It would have certainly been safer to stay at home. There would have been nowhere to fall… But that wasn’t the calculation of our brethren in the sky. They want to remind us that a life without risks isn’t properly worth living. It is apparently safe, but not truly so, because there’s no genuine safety in an existence permanently compromised by fear. Better then to leave the house and take to the skies in a flying bomb. One might come down in pieces, but will have taken in immense views, seen seagulls circling far below and lived to the full.”
The risks we are taking aren’t quite so extreme, but living life to the full – that sounds like fun!