Three excited kids in tow, fully amped up on chicken nuggets and orange soda. And we’re off… to our fantastic destination. A one hour drive to the land of the free and the home of the corn maze, pumpkin patch, and the ultimate fall festival.
Travel time passes fairly quick amidst lighthearted adult conversations up front and (mostly) friendly junior competitions in the back.
“In one mile, your destination will be on the left.”
“In point five miles, your destination will be on the left.”
And at last…
There’s clearly nothing but open cow fields as far as the eye can see. And if I missed a road to turn on, I must’ve been unconscious.
My copilot momma looks up the address on her GPS. “Forty minutes away”, she says as we both sense the impending buzzkill.
I’d somehow managed to throw an address in my GPS that appeared correct as I glanced at it, pulling out of the fast food drive thru an hour ago. And to make it worse… somehow there’s a location with the exact same street number, and with the exact name of the city as its street name. Who’d have thought? Humph. “Hang on, kids… try not to strangle each other for another forty minutes.”
Better late than never, we get to the festival and pack in all the fun we can.
But over the next few days and certain events, I found myself getting lost all over again. Dwelling on the pain of past and present rejections. Disappointment set in… over feeling hurt, betrayed, and alone. I had given all I had to people, places, and things. And in return, I simply couldn’t gain their respect, approval, or even a hint of kindness in some regards. I felt like Elijah in 1 Kings 19. He was on the run… in fear of the death threats of a deranged, evil woman. Not only was he afraid, but also intensely hopeless. He was coming just off the cusp of more than one extraordinary victory for his people. And what did he get in response from these people? Nothing. Nothing but ungrateful-ness. And so he despaired, “I am no better than my ancestors”.
But where was his heart?
Where was my heart?
In the story, God instructed Elijah to come out of his hiding place and wait for the Lord to pass by (v. 11). Right on the heels of that direction comes a “great and powerful wind”, then an earthquake, and then a fire (v. 12). Yet, in none of those powerful displays was God calling Elijah to come to him. After those things had passed, it was in a “gentle whisper” that God queries his faithful servant: “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (vv. 12-13).
“What are you doing here, Kassie?”
I’d imagine God saying more directly: Why are you looking for me in the wrong places, Elijah? Why were you expecting to find fulfillment in your accomplishments, in people, or in anything else other than me? I’m not always in the loud displays of success that the world celebrates. Sometimes what’s more important than all of these earthly things, is that you are close enough to me that you can hear me whispering to you that it’s not over and that it’s time to get back to your mission.
As long as you’re looking for approval from the wrong sources, you’ll always be hurt by their rejection.
As long as you keep going to the wrong address, you’ll always end up in the wrong place.
“Jesus said, “I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him. You’ve even seen him!””
(John 14:6-7 MSG)
He is our guide, our map, and our divine method of transportation. If we are chasing after the heart of Jesus, we will arrive exactly where we are supposed to be.
Lord, help us to find our true freedom in your love, your acceptance, and your mission. Help us to chase after your heart above all else.