Thursday, November 12, 2015

Comfort Caves

                This time of year always leaves me feeling cold. In the evenings my feet catch a chill and then the rest of my body follows. I wrap up in my fuzzy blanket and I snuggle into my spot on my recliner and get comfortable. Unfortunately, what usually happens is I fall asleep. I get so
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comfortable that I fall asleep and end up not getting anything accomplished the rest of the day. My small pleasure of comfort leads to a long day of laziness. If we are not careful, this same thing can happen to us in our Christian lives. We can get comfortable, and our comfort can turn into a life of laziness. We find our spot, our little niche within the body, and we start to build a routine. We settle into a pattern and we get comfortable. The fear of losing that comfort however can cause us to hide in the caves of our lives and from the calling of God to go out and stand.
“Then he came to a cave and lodged in it. And behold the word of the Lord came to him and He said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?”
 1 Kings 19:9 (ESV)
                Notice the scripture says that Elijah came to the cave and lodged in it. He didn’t just rest for one night; he took up residence in this little cave, hiding away from the troubles that awaited him outside. He was comfortable here and he wasn’t planning on leaving anytime soon. But God loves us too much to allow us to live in our fear. He loves us to much to allow us to be comfortable. In fact, the Bible does not teach us to be comfortable at all. We are called to be walking out this journey, not getting all cozy in our little caves. What happens when you get comfortable? You end up falling asleep. Then our sleep turns into laziness and we are not walking at all. It’s hard to walk in faith if you are snuggled up in your comfort cave.
                God asks Elijah what he is doing hiding in that cave. I always find it intriguing when God asks man a question because He already knows the answer to it. I also think it is important for us to know that God does not ask us questions because He does not know the answer, but because He wants us to see and understand what is hidden in our hearts. He wants us to see the reasons why we are hiding in the cave. God’s questions to us are meant to open our eyes and see what is buried deep within our hearts. His questions take away all our excuses and show us the real reason why we are hiding away in our fear, getting comfortable in our caves.
“He said, ‘I have been very jealous for the Lord, the God of hosts. For the people of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, thrown down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword, and I, even I only, am left, and they seek my life, to take it away.’”
1 Kings 19:10 ESV
                Elijah tells the Lord the reason for his being in the cave. He tells him that they are seeking his life. He is scared. He is alone and no one understands his struggles. Well that sounds very familiar! I have probably used this excuse before the Lord more times than I can count! I myself have told the Lord the reason why I didn’t want to come out of my cave was because I was scared, alone and no one understood me. So, it was just best if I stayed in my comfortable cave. But notice what God speaks to Elijah, and I believe what He wants to speak to each one of us today.
“’Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.’” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, ‘What are you doing there, Elijah?’”
1 Kings 19:11-13 ESV
                The Lord tells Elijah to go out and stand. All throughout the Bible God commands His children to go out and stand. 1 Corinthians 16:13 (watch and stand), Philippians 4:1 (stand fast), 2 Thessalonians 2:15(stand fast) are just a few examples of what is written for us throughout the Bible. God tells Elijah to come out of that cave of comfort and stand on His word, His truth, and most importantly, in His presence. The wind may rage and the mountains may be broken into pieces, but God is not in the wind, He is right there with Elijah. The earth may shake, but God is not with the earth, He is with Elijah. The fire may come to destroy, but God is not in the fire, He is standing right there with you, my friend. He has never left you, and He has never forsaken you, and He never will. He was not in the storms, because He was standing right there with you.
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                The wind, the earth and the fire did not destroy Elijah and it will not destroy you. Elijah was there, standing in his cave, and in the midst of all that turmoil, but God was there with him. He was that gentle whisper telling him to trust Him. He was that gentle whisper calming his fears and giving him strength to keep pressing forward. He was that gentle whisper that said, “I am with you.” He was that still small voice that said, “I got this.”
                We will never be able to stand on the mount before the Lord if we are not willing to leave our caves. We must eventually come out of our comfort zones and stand upon His word to us. If we continue to stay in our caves of comfort we will never be able to see and experience the mighty presence of God in our lives. Take your cloak of faith, wrap it around your face and go to the entrance of what lies ahead. No matter the wind, or how it roars; no matter the earth and how it shakes, no matter the fire and how it might consume, go out and stand in the promise that you will not be moved.
“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, nor shall the flame scorch you.”
 Isaiah 43:2 (NKJV)

                Go out and stand before the Lord my friend. Don’t let fear keep you in your cave of comfort, come out and be brave. Stand upon His word to you, wrap your cloak of faith around you and stand at the entrance of God’s mighty power working in you and with you. He is not in the turmoil, He is with you. Amen.