His question startles me from daydreams over the patterned carpet in the sanctuary and ducks waddling under heavy rain just outside the low window. I sit on the padded seats in the front row between my kids, when H asks the audience, “What do you really want?”
As if on cue, a rumble of thunder shakes the building in the pause. Rain sounds like sand dumping slow crescendo on roof.
He refers to the way Elijah asks Elisha, “Tell me what I can do for you,” before he leaves the earth in a fiery whirlwind. (II Kings 2:1-12)
I think about that question, glance over at my son. Our linked shoulders create a bridge between cerebral space and I assume to know what he wants. The video editing equipment he orders on Amazon two days ago, so he can create masterpieces.
As I caress the arm of my daughter, I remember the boards she creates on Pinterest last night, with clothes she wants for her sweet sixteen in just a few weeks. Is this how they would answer his question?
Solomon answers wisdom and I want to rip out all the carpet in my house and enjoy wood floors, paint the family room and go to Europe yesterday. But when I think about what I really want, I remember a night decades ago.
How my heart beats like mallet on a bass drum, shaking the bed where I lay in rhythm of metronome. I am just twelve years old, tucked under blankets alone in a house deep in the wooded pitch of night, when I hear the intruder break in to the basement. Hear footsteps squeak on the cold, clammy dungeon of cement, creak up each wooden step, turn the rusty knob to open latched door.
It was then that I realized what I want. It changed my view of want forever. When I called out to God to rescue me, protect me from the evil lurking just steps away from my bedroom.
I want to know the presence of God. Know that He loves me, stands at the foot of shaking bed to hear my cries for help, watch protective over me, rejoice when I sigh relief, shed tears in sorrow of loneliness.
I want to know the presence of God more than I want things, control, or status.
And maybe it takes a brush with terror, the heartbreak of loss, the emptiness of poverty for the heart to understand that what we want lies behind the eyes of the one who sees us true.
When Elisha answers Elijah’s question – what do you want – he replies, “Let me inherit a double share of your spirit and become your successor.” Maybe this seems a bit greedy to you, wanting to have twice as much as the one who speaks rain into existence and fire to fall from heaven.
But really, when he requests a double portion, he refers to the inheritance of the first-born child who rightfully receives more than the others do. In essence, Elisha asks to be Elijah’s rightful heir to the mantel of prophecy. Not because of all the signs and wonders he will proclaim, but because he hopes, it is what God wants.
At the depths of the soul wanting, do we want what God wants? To be an authentic heir, to belong, to have our name carved into the bloodline of the mystery. Want this more than anything else?
We stand among the crowd holding umbrellas and jackets above their heads, ready to brave the sheets of wet that fall from the sky. Ask the kids if they want to go out for breakfast and they shrug their shoulders, grey clouds casting ambivalence.
Later, as we sit over plates painted yellow egg and caramel sticky, we laugh about not being hungry when we stood on the cold tile of indecision and I don’t think I’m hungry, just minutes before.
Maybe the question isn’t, what do I want; rather, what do you want, God.
Can you trust Him when He answers?
As we continue the Joy Dare with Ann, thanking him for three things a day, 1000 in 2012, will you kindly share a bit of gratitude in the comments today. Let’s link hands through cyberspace to celebrate His goodness as we approach the season of Lent.
- The way my kids order coffee at breakfast and widen the eyes of the waitress.
- How my son eats his waffle, her sausage and half of my crab benedict after he said he wouldn’t order anything because he isn’t hungry.
- The list of food items my kids say they just won’t order off a menu anymore because the way I cook them is always so much better.
- A dim room and all of us under blanketed couches and chairs to watch Downton Abbey.
- Today, a day off for all of us.