Elijah had been threatened with death and was feeling abandoned by God. He spent five weeks of silent retreat in the wilderness, going to the mountain. He laid out his complaint: “I’ve done what I was called by you to do. I’m the only one left following you. Everyone has abandoned your way of life. And now I’m threatened with death.” God invites Elijah’s complaint. Twice. Not with hands on hips, “What do you want now?” But with a willingness to listen.
God sends him back home, but with an awareness that there will be a new colleague, a new king, and that he wasn’t as alone as he thought.
A man, maybe nicknamed “Legion”, finally has freedom from the voices in his head (that came from outside his head), commanding his thoughts, his actions. He gets a few hours listening to Jesus, getting a glimpse of the person who had power to free him. As Jesus is leaving, the man asks permission to become one of the many people who followed along with Jesus. (There were more than 12 after all). Jesus specifically says, “Go back to the city. Tell them about what happened to you, the freedom you got from me.” When people would say, “Aren’t you Legion?”, the man would say, “Let me tell you a story. I was out of my mind. And then they were out of my mind. And I was talking with Jesus.”
A handful of people met with Jesus on a hilltop. He’d already told them to love each other. He said it was his command to them. A difficult task some days. And now he looks at them and says, “All power is mine. Here’s what I want you to do. Go everywhere and teach people how to love each other the way I love you. And I’m going to be with you wherever you go, whenever it is.”
God will listen to our complaint. Tell him unapologetically.
God will offer us freedom. Accept it. (And know that the damage may take a long time to heal).
God may or may not move us anywhere, but always joins us where we are. Listen for him.