In his book Rumors, Philip Yancey makes a wonderful observation about people. He states that we (humans) are really amphibians. In nature amphibians are creatures that live their lives in 2 realms. part of their life is spent breathing through gills in water. During the adult part of their lives they breathe air into their lungs. Yancey's comment poses that we live our lives in both the physical and spiritual realms. In one realm we are physical beings. In the other we are spiritual beings.
The Bible is rife with references to these two realms. Elisha's servant believed all was lost as he and Elisha were about to be attacked by an enemy (1 Kings 17:2). The servant was living in the physical real. He only believed the things he saw with his eyes. Elisha prayed to God asking that the servants eyes would be opened so that he could see the provision of God. God said "yes" and the servant saw "chariots of fire" surrounding them and the enemy (yes, it is where the movie title came from). The lesson? Elisha's reaction to the enemy and the impossible situation was to pray and ask God to do His thing! Maybe if we prayed for God's will and jumped into that will, we could follow God out of the oppressive and impossible situations in which we find ourselves. God's help is already available and there. So ask God to let you see the spiritual realm. For seeing with the eyes of the Spirit reveals the true reality of life.
Another story finds Elijah holed-up in a cave, hiding from King Ahab and Queen Jezebel (1 Kings 19). Elijah sees the impossible task of escape and the obvious (to him) reality that he is alone in his work of being God's prophet. God sends him out to the cave entrance. God shows Elijah a fire, a whirlwind and an earthquake. God is not in any of them. Then God sends a gentle whisper and God is inside the whisper. God reminds Elijah that He has all of this under control. Elijah is not alone. There are others who are "zealous for the Lord." At the beginning of this cave story God asks Elijah "What are you doing here?" I think this is one of the lessons from this passage. The question can be read, "What are YOU doing here?" "Elijah, YOU don't belong in a cave filled with fear, doubt and uncertainty! You will find me out there in the danger and beauty of doing my will." The question could also be, "What are you doing HERE ?" "Elijah ... you are here in the physical realm. Don't you know I have created you to live, love, work and see in the spiritual realm!? You are an amphibian, spending too much time worrying about your physical needs. Get up, get out and get to work!"
We (people) worship the physical. We adore beautiful people. We love things that feed our physical needs. We marvel at those who can deliver words that are filled with passion, yet we fail to parse what those words are saying (because we focus on the physical). We love beautiful music that moves us, and I believe God-inspired music does speak to our spirit, but lots of music isn't God inspired. We revere royalty, rock stars, athletes who can jump high and run fast, actors and political figures. We are caught in the physical realm and we cannot seem to get out. God is asking, "What are you doing HERE?!" In God's question is the call to get up, get out and jump into God's realm. You will find the Spirit in worship of God, fellowship with other believers, connecting with God through the means of grace (prayer, communion, service, giving, focusing on others), being in dangerous places where God is working, experiencing the discomfort of the people God sends your way, making hard decisions that your family won't like and praying for God to let you see beyond the physical realm. Out there you will see (if you look) a whole realm filled with God-stuff, beauty and chariots of fire. So, what are you doing HERE? Randy