June 23 Reflections

The story of my life includes a time when my life crashed. I was 45 years old and I wondered about the purpose of life. I wondered it anyone cared. I wondered if I was supposed to be working in full-time ministry. It was triggered by a simple, yet for me brutally shameful comment: “I don’t think he is working hard enough.” This was at a time when I was working 60-70 hours per week, not taking any day of the week off. My vow that I was living with from my past was: “I will work hard/be busy so people will think I am wonderful and like me.” I did that, but someone did not like me. The whole structural lie came crashing down burying me in depression. It was my “broom tree.” (1 Kings 19:4) I came to understand the triggers of my depression through the different parts of who I am: my physical body, my mind, my emotions, my relationships and my soul (spirituality).
Out of the crash came a new beginning…a new learning…a new identity. Fighting shame that says I am never enough and a mistake for being alive. Grace found me. God found me in the crash and gave me new life, new purpose and new dreams: it told me I am loved, first, and I am enough. I do not have to earn it by working hard: it is gift! Out of the crash came a new vow: I will rest in Jesus, trusting who he says I am, while living wholeheartedly for him. Rest…trust…wholehearted: these are the words of new life. One of the pivotal passages of Scripture that brought and brings so much healing and perspective is the story of Elijah in 1 Kings 19 where he sits under the broom tree in his melancholy despair praying that he might die and says, “I have had enough LORD…take my life; I am no better than my ancestors.” (1Kings 19:4) When you read Scripture every person comes to a point when their life crashes. Joseph in prison…Moses murders a man…Peter denies knowing Christ…Paul on the road to Damascus…Jeremiah’s despair…David’s adultery and betrayal. Out of each of those comes new life and a new dream. We are going to think about that on Sunday by looking together at 1 Kings 19 and considering when life crashes. Where has that happened for you? What did you learn about God, about yourself, and about others? Maybe you are in it now and need hope that something new will come. Will I ever feel “normal” again? Or has everything changed? Is it hopeless? Can I possibly know that everything will be okay? Let’s go on the journey with Elijah and seek God; listening for the gentle whisper that says: “I love you…I hold you…I live in you…I will never let you go.” Some possible passages to read and reflect upon: I Kings 19; Psalm 42; Jeremiah 20:7-18; Psalm 13.
Grace upon Grace,
Pastor Verlyn