You’re the Cause of My Misery
Is it you, you troubler of Israel? 1 Kings 18:17
It is often part of my job as a physician to inform patients with an injury, such as an ankle fracture, that the treatment will require several weeks in a cast. Occasionally, the patient will direct anger and frustration over this inconvenience at me. I understand it, but still, it’s a little maddening. Listen fool. I’m not the one who broke his ankle jumping off the roof. I’m the one who is helping you.
I do get it though. I’ve demonized those who have tried to help me. Looking back, it’s easy to admit that my destruction was my fault and to see God’s hand of discipline, but at the time, I simply hated and blamed those who forced me to get help. As the sky fell, I was not responsible. It was those who dared to interfere who caused my misery.
At least I’m in royal company in my warped thinking. Israel’s King Ahab, in today’s passage, did the same. Though it was clearly his choice to defy God and worship idols, when confronted by the prophet Elijah, Ahab blamed the prophet. This is all your fault. Though Elijah was just the vehicle delivering God’s message, he bore the brunt of Ahab’s frustration and guilt.
When we are caught in bad behavior and as consequences begin to rain down, it only magnifies our pain to be honest about who is at fault. So, we take our shame and frustration and focus it anywhere but where it belongs. As it is too painful to truly change, we place the blame on another and then attack or abandon him or her.
This of course, is not helpful. We can blame whomever we want, but if we are at fault, then we have not improved our condition at all. If we desire to be free from the disaster of ourselves, then we must embrace painful honesty and admit that, I am my problem. We must learn to go to God daily, asking Him what we should do to abandon our own will so that we may follow His.