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Summary: If you are lonely, Elijah discovered that there are resources to be found in the presence of God.

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Lost and Lonely

I Kings 19:1-14

June 4, 2006

Awhile back, I got hooked on the television series “LOST.” For those of you who don’t watch it, the show is about the survivors of Oceanic Flight 815 which crashed on a deserted island in the Pacific Ocean. They run into all sorts of surprises and challenges as they fight to survive in the wilderness. I think this is a great show.

The problem is that, after getting hooked on this show, I very seldom see it. I used to make it a point not to miss it, but that determination didn’t last very long. I seem always to be doing something else: a meeting or a family obligation or some such thing. I don’t get to see the show too much any more. We don’t have TiVo. Our VCR doesn’t have a record function. So this season, I have pretty much lost track of the characters. Somehow, my wife always manages to make Thursday nights her night for ER, but I have trouble setting aside my Wednesday’s for LOST.

Have you ever been lost? I have told you before about the work camp to Russia which I led in the fall of 1994. The last two days were spent in Moscow sightseeing. Our guide was Father Sergei at whose parish we had been working about 100 miles or so west of Moscow. When it was time to leave, he accompanied us to Moscow, dropped us off at our hotel, and said good-bye. And we were alone with two days to fill before catching our flight home. None of us spoke Russian. It was a strange feeling.

The manager of the hotel spoke English, so we were able to get subway directions to Red Square and the Kremlin. We got down there easily enough and had a great time doing all the tourist stuff. We walked around the city. There is a huge mall right across Red Square from Lenin’s tomb (which is really ironic if you think about it); a mall that compares with any high-end mall in the United States. We had a great time there.

When it came time to catch the subway back to the hotel, we realized that we hadn’t a clue where to go. We had a map of the city, but it made no sense. We walked around and around, and I, being the leader of the group was beginning to get a little concerned and bewildered.

Finally, we found a police officer – with an AK 47 slung across his shoulder – and walked over to see if he could help. I made eye contact with him and asked him if he spoke English. He said, “no.”

Obviously, we finally found our way back or else we would still be wandering around Russia, but it was a scary afternoon. There’s no feeling quite like being lost.

My guess is that everyone here can tell his or her own story of being lost. You know, not only is it scary to be physically lost, I have a feeling that we can sometimes become emotionally lost, and that can be as scary as not knowing east from west. Being lonely, confused, afraid, ashamed, and angry can make us feel as though we have lost all our bearings and that we have no where to turn.

For the next few weeks, we are going to take a closer look at those emotions and do what we can to find the spiritual resources to help us get back on track, discover our way in the midst of chaos and unknowing, and really find what we are looking for. We want to begin today with being lost and lonely.

Back in the Old Testament book of I Kings, there is this fellow named Elijah. Now Elijah just sort of appears on the scene. There isn’t an introduction. One minute he is not there and the next minute he is.

Ahab was king at that particular time in history. In terms of being a bad guy, he out did them all. The Bible says that he was a new champion in evil. The first thing he did was to marry a foreign woman who worshiped foreign gods. He started worshiping these foreign gods himself and even built shrines to them. During his reign they rebuilt the walls around the city of Jericho. He sacrificed his oldest son when they laid the foundation and his youngest son when they hung the gates. This was not a nice man. Later, in chapter 21, the Bible says: “Ahab…set an all-time record in making big business of evil.”

There was a long drought over the whole land. And God told Elijah to go see Ahab. Ahab was told that the drought was his fault because he had forgotten about God and had started to worship strange, foreign, false gods. And then there was a big confrontation between Elijah and the prophets of the false gods. Of course, Elijah won. 450 prophets of the false god were killed.

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