Friday, September 14, 2007

juniper trees

most people who know me well have no idea that i'm prone to melancholy

i prefer it that way

the dozen [or so] people who know me best know that i am melancholy by nature, prone to introspection and very susceptible to small spaces of depression.

it has been a significant part of my spiritual discovery to manage and limit my melancholy and the accompanying dark-thoughts/moods

however, i find i am at my weakest after a big thing has come and gone. when i was a music pastor and we'd write/produce/publish/perform our own musicals, i'd always spiral downwards after the final performance. the productions were always met with highly positive remarks, but they'd never quite live up to my ridiculous expectations and i'd always find myself evaluating crazy things like 'the meaning of life' or 'who am i supposed to become' when everyone else had gone home.

those moments have sometimes been called juniper tree moments.

when elijah was running from the evil queen jezibel, an angelic presence shaded him beneath a juniper tree.

collapsing from exhaustion, elijah prayed "i've had enough, lord; take my life."

now, the cool part about the juniper tree experience is not the exhaustion-inspired plea for eternal rest. the cool part about the experience is that the angel of the lord gave elijah simple instructions for how to continue, telling him to

get up

and then again

get up

adding, "for the journey is too great for you."

from here elijah went to mt. horeb where god met him in a whisper.

when we're exhausted and - yet, somehow - god isn't finished with us
he comes to us with simple things: getting out of bed, getting something to eat
and then he leads us further down the long and winding road
down the road and up another mountain, pursued by the wicked

and once we've journeyed
-having not given up, having not stayed in bed, having not succumbed to depression-

he begins to whisper

i think i'm living for those whispers.

to be fair, they're not promised [as such]. elijah's experience is not proscriptive to life in the 21st century; but, also to be fair, elijah's experience does set some kind of precedent. it gives hope. it shows us what god is like. it demonstrates the reward for good and faithful service - a reward here and now before any kind of final, eschatalogical one.

so, yeah...

i need one whisper to keep believing.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous1:16 PM

    Becky and I really enjoyed your message yesterday. Thanks for that.

    Cool story about Elijah, never heard it before. I can relate to that feeling of depression/exhaustion, it's comforting and encouraging to see places in scripture where others have felt the same way. Thanks for posting this.

    Tim M