August 9, 2012

Second Breakfast


But Elijah himself went a day's journey into the wilderness, and came and sat down under a solitary broom tree. He asked that he might die: "It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life, for I am no better than my ancestors." Then he lay down under the broom tree and fell asleep. Suddenly an angel touched him and said to him, "Get up and eat." He looked, and there at his head was a cake baked on hot stones, and a jar of water. He ate and drank, and lay down again. The angel of the LORD came a second time, touched him, and said, "Get up and eat, otherwise the journey will be too much for you." He got up, and ate and drank; then he went in the strength of that food forty days and forty nights to Horeb the mount of God. - 1 Kings 19:4-8

Maybe the Hobbits were right.  Maybe second breakfast is a required part of the day if you’re going to be strong and nourished for the work ahead.

Elijah is worn out and starving, ready to die.  It sounds like he would be fine if everyone, including God, left him alone and let him pass. But God has need of Elijah yet.  A holy messenger comes to Elijah.  A nearby village woman?  A wilderness Bedouin wanderer?  Who knows.  But they see Elijah’s pitiful state and get him to eat and drink.  Some hot cakes and shade cooled water were all set to go.  He eats and drinks, goes back to sleep, and seems ready still to let it all go and breathe his last.

God knows what is yet to come is going to challenge him more.  There were kings to anoint and defeat, wars to navigate, and a disciple to train so the word could be passed on and on about a God of justice and mercy and amazing things.

So the messenger comes again, and whips up some more hotcakes and scoops some more fresh water from the stream.  Elijah needs a second helping.  He needs more nourishment.  Once was not enough.  The journey will be too much for him.  His second breakfast, or late night snack or whatever it was, gives him strength for 40 days and nights.  Maybe it was the energy in the grains.  Maybe it was the realization that God will nourish and energize him more than he expects or even desires, because there is something more important going on that is bigger than his small self, but God still needs his small self to do it.

The next thing Elijah experiences, in his fed and renewed body and mind, is the still small voice as he cowers in a cleft and the divine passes by.  Ah, that was it.  Second breakfast pricked his ears and opened his mind for the divine whisper he wasn’t strong enough to hear:  You are the one I need.

You’ve probably had breakfast.  You’ve probably heard some good news about God and grace and purpose for your life.  But you probably find it all hard to believe or trust.  You probably need to chew on it some more.  You probably, now and then at least, feel like the journey ahead is too much for you. Get out your forks, Hobbits.  It’s time for second breakfast.  You are the one I need, says the voice you didn't expect to hear.

No comments:

Post a Comment