1 Kings 19:19-21 Elijah set out and came upon Elisha, son of Shaphat, as he was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen; he was following the twelfth. Elijah went over to him and threw his cloak over him. Elisha left the oxen, ran after Elijah, and said, “Please, let me kiss my father and mother goodbye, and I will follow you.” Elijah answered, “Go back! Have I done anything to you?” Elisha left him, and taking the yoke of oxen, slaughtered them; he used the plowing equipment for fuel to boil their flesh, and gave it to his people to eat. Then Elisha left and followed Elijah as his attendant.
After reflecting on this scripture and listening to Fr. Robert Barron’s commentation on this (which you too can listen to at www.wordonfire.org/WOF-Radio/Sermons/Sermon-Archive-for-2013/Sermon-651-Elisha-and-the-Path-of-True-Freedom.aspx), I realized that my last several days resembled this. In this story Elisha willingly follows Elijah. He asks once if he can go back to say his goodbyes, but Elijah reminds him that he will be leaving all behind – his oxen (which were his riches) and his family. Elisha was a very rich man. Who else needs 12 oxen to plow a field? That is a pretty big field. Elisha leaves it all because he knows that God is in control of his life, and wants to follow God no matter what he has to sacrifice.
Through this sermon, my control issues became very apparent to me. The last few days have been very difficult for me. God revealed to me that I was fighting for control of part of my life, and was not leaving Him in control. Let me explain a little about my last few days.
On Wednesday, I received a call from someone who had rented property from Pete and I. The air conditioning had failed, so I picked up the phone and started calling AC/Heating people to get them out ASAP. After the first technician went out and decided that the issue was not our unit, but a building issue, I called out a second technician. At this point, I also contacted our condo manager to let her know that our condo may have an issue. She promptly let me know that there were no other complaints at that time of air failing. As I am sure you can guess, soon there were air issues popping up all over the building to the point that all 55 units failed at one time. My renters had spent the night in 85 degree heat, and soon many more would be doing the same. It was a nightmare. Four days later the issue is still not resolved. Although some do have their air conditioning operating, we still have several units that are not operating (mine is included in the latter group).
The AC/Heating people that finally came out to resolve the problems said they would need to order parts that would not arrive until Monday at the earliest. Now what this meant to me was my current renters would be checking out and my new renters would be checking in. Anyway, I started refunding money, calling for advice and at that same time I received a call from my new renters that the refrigerator in my unit went out. Oh and even better, (we are selling our condo) and a showing was scheduled for this weekend – and we would have no air. This is when I fell completely to my knees. What on earth is going on, God?
So last night as Pete and I searched and searched for someone to deliver a refrigerator today (same day delivery), I started to sob. I didn’t care that my kids were in the next room. I didn’t care that Pete saw a very fragile side of me. I didn’t care that I had completely lost my mind. Nope. I just sobbed.
Pete looked at me and said, “Maybe God is humbling you.” Ouch. I didn’t like that statement at all.
Sometimes I enjoy a little humility from God, but I didn’t like it this way. I didn’t like it hitting my pocketbook. I didn’t like it affecting people that were renting from me. I didn’t like the guilt I felt because I had air condition ing in my home, but my renters were sleeping in heat. No, I didn’t like any part of this scenario. And I really didn’t like that there was no end in sight. I have no estimate of how long all this will take. I don’t know when air will come back on. I don’t know when the refrigerator will be delivered. It just was the worst humility lesson I ever had been given by God. You see, God gives us lessons all the time. Sometimes we miss them because they are subtle, but sometimes they are like sledgehammers on our head – we can’t miss them. This was a sledgehammer. A big one.
So, what am I going to do to stop this lesson in humility? I am not sure. I woke up very stressed this morning. My oldest is getting her wisdom teeth out and she woke up crying. My youngest had a doctor appointment that I cancelled because I couldn’t handle the stress of being pulled in two different directions. I still have to contact appliance places to find a refrigerator for my renters. It all seems so overwhelming. The worst part is, still there is no air conditioning in our condo.
Phillipians 4:6 Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.
That’s right I am going back to my knees and praying for God’s help. He may not call an appliance place for me. He may not contact the AC/Heating people for me. He may not ease my renters’ concerns. BUT he will give me the strength to deal with all of these things. He will give me the ability to persevere through this week of uncertainty. He will remind me of the things that are going good in my life. I will be praying very hard for peace and perseverance this week. It is going to be a difficult week. It wouldn’t surprise me if the AC people don’t show up today. It wouldn’t surprise me if the appliance people put delivery off until after the holiday. I have to be ready to persevere through the storm. I have to count on God’s strength and relinquish control to Him. I have to let him humble me, then I will thank him for the lesson. It won’t be easy, because I certainly didn’t like the lesson he gave me. I know it was needed. So maybe I will end my prayer with a “thank you” to God, but could he choose a different method next time – you know a subtle one instead?