1 Kings 19:7–9 (NIV)
The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.
ME: THIS IS THE WAY—
YOU: FROM GLORY TO GLORY!
Where was Elijah going? He went to the wilderness to die, but now an angel has intervened with a bit of a continental breakfast buffet and referenced a “journey,” as in, “the journey is too much for you.” We have no “Word of the Lord” coming to Elijah to say go to this ravine or that widow’s house. Elijah seems to have his own plan now.
How can we surmise this? Well, when he gets there, the Word of the Lord will come to him not once but twice with the same question, What are you doing here, Elijah? (1 Kings 19:9, 13)
Elijah was at the same time on his way somewhere and lost. He was going home and yet the Tishbite wasn’t going to Tishbe. The Spirit of God had plugged the Mountain of God into the GPS map of Elijah’s spirit. Elijah was going to Mt. Horeb, also known as Mt. Sinai—yes that’s Mount Moses, or Ten Commandments Peak. He was going to the “home” that transcended his homeland.
Do you remember back at the beginning of this Daily Text journey when I told you we were going to Mt. Sinai? It seemed right to me because of the way our core text, 2 Corinthians 3:17–18, made such explicit reference to Moses and the glory of God. I had no idea as we launched into This is the Way—From Glory to Glory that we would be meeting up with Elijah; not a clue. People think I carefully plan the Daily Text journey. Nope. We are not a tour group with an itinerary. We have set our hearts on pilgrimage. Sometimes the Lord will give us the coordinates of a destination without a route; sometimes a route with no destination. Other times he will only give us the next step or stop. As soon as I said we were headed to Mt. Sinai the Spirit said, “Mt. Carmel.” Who knew we would become so close to Elijah? Jesus knew. And who knew Elijah would teach us so much about this way from glory to glory? I’ll tell you who knew. Jesus knew. God’s will is what is happening while we are making other plans.
This is how it is with following Jesus. We need not concern ourselves with the destination, the route, or the provisions—only Jesus. Only He knows the beginning from the end and every possible (and impossible) route of life’s ever recalculating realities. He knows all the green pastures and quiet brooks and every path of rightness between here and there. Only Jesus knows the way through the valley of the shadow and the secret serendipities of tables of abundance in the presence of punishing enemies (even those who were once your friends).
Jesus, my friends, the Word of God from before the beginning—who is the Word of God made human flesh—is the Word of God of beyond the end. As we follow Jesus, with unveiled faces—beholding as in a mirror his gloriously transcendent radiance—in our own faces—we are being transformed into his image from one degree of glory to another. And yes friends, this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.
So as we find ourselves somewhere in this forty day and forty night journey with Elijah, lost and yet on the way to the mountain of God, I want to share a prayer I have shared here before. It’s one of my favorite and comes from the late Father Louis of Gethsemane (aka Thomas Merton). It’s a prayer for the long road.
My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore I will trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone. —Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude.
Indeed, God’s will is what is happening while we are making other plans.
This is the way—from glory to glory.
You have searched me, Abba Father, and you know me. Lord Jesus you know when I sit and when I rise. You perceive my thoughts from afar. Holy Spirit you discern my going out and my lying down. Indeed, you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue, you, Lord, know it completely. Almighty God, you hem me in behind and before and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; too lofty for me to attain. Lead on O King Eternal, the day of march has come. Praying in Jesus’ name, amen.
Is this way of glory to glory being clarified for you? Even crystallized? Is your holy discontent beginning to override your sense of malaise? Are you sensing a calling to the next degree of glory in your life?
For the Awakening,