Two steps forward, one step back

photo-14This is Ally’s story, a very recent graduate from Texas A&M-  I too, love the story of Elijah, so I am glad she is sharing it. Ally was in a study I lead one year, and I always appreciated her great smile, and her way of caring for people!

Following Jesus is hard. And many times I fall short. Instead of moving towards Jesus, I just move through my day focused on myself and my task at hand. My focus changes from the author and perfector of my faith to the situation around me. I become fearful, and my mind strays to worrying about my future instead of adoring my Savior. I doubt the goodness of God. I doubt the faithfulness of God. I even doubt whether it’s worth it to live the Christian life; and even to go against what the world says is important, in order to pursue what God says is important. Lately, I’ve been in this boat. I’ve had no desire to read my Bible, I haven’t felt connected with God and I feel like it’s a struggle to even talk to Him some days.

 Fortunately for me and for us, we as humans aren’t perfect. We don’t follow Jesus perfectly. We get off course. We stumble and fall. Sometimes we even take steps backwards.

I think about Elijah in the Old Testament. He was this legit prophet of the Lord. He did miracles. He raised a boy from the dead. He once had superhuman speed to beat a chariot. (See 1 Kings 18:44-46)  God commanded birds to bring him food, and they do. He saw God show up in mighty ways and defeat false gods. He saw people go from worshipping false Gods to falling on their faces and praising the one true God.

Yet, despite all these things, his walk with God was far from perfect. He received a death threat and immediately was fearful and wanted to die. Okay, so a death threat is pretty major, right? But, Elijah had just seen fire come down from heaven, based on his prayer to God, and CONSUME an offering drenched in water. Then, he saw 450 men fall on their faces, declaring God was who Elijah said he was. He had just seen fire come down from heaven, and he is worried about some human sending a death threat? YES.

He takes steps of faith, boldly calling on God to show up and God does. Then, he gets scared, and he takes a step back.

God sends an angel to him– twice.  He regains his energy and perspective and moves forward again, towards the place God had called him. Then he gets scared AGAIN and hides in a cave. (Not making this up people, see 1 Kings 19).  Two steps forward, one step back.

What I love about this story is that I am like Elijah. I move towards God, walk with Him, and see Him use me in ways I don’t deserve. Yet, then I get scared and decide to stop or move back. I let fear get a hold of me. I believe Satan’s lies that God is not a good Dad , trading the truth for a lie. I choose to live days apart from God. Yet, God never leaves Elijah in those places. He comes to him and provides him encouragement when he needs it, through an angel. He provides physically with food. Elijah then keeps going, a couple more steps forward towards God. What is Elijah’s response in all of this? He is honest with God. He tells God that he is fearful, alone, and wants to die. God does answers him. God isn’t shocked at what He hears, and He doesn’t require Elijah to get it together before moving forward. He is present with Elijah when Elijah hides in a cave, just as He is present with Elijah when Elijah calls for fire to come down from heaven.

I love that the Bible is full of people like Elijah: people who takes two steps forward and then a step back. What an encouragement to know that we aren’t alone when we feel disconnected from God or when we let fear take the place of truth. Also, God doesn’t leave us in those places. He is always faithful, despite our emotions and despite our lack of faithfulness.poppy

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Ally Landis is a Texas A&M alumi with a degree in math. She is always up for eating Mexican food, roadtrippin’ to pretty much anywhere, Sonic happy hour, and anything adventurous. She is also an avid Jeopardy fan and considers herself a connoisseur of chai tea. She desires to spend her life following Jesus and helping others to do the same.

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