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Nov 22, 2017 1670 Gregory Petershack,
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Be Still: My Thoughts While Walking the Camino

I can relate a lot to Elijah. In 1 Kings 19: 1-13 (passage below) Elijah is at his wits’ end. He has done all that he has been asked to do and feels he has failed. In verse 4 he begs for death!

Now I might not be that dramatic or have all that going on, but I can relate to what happens next. God calls him on a long journey out to a mountain in the desert to talk to Him. For 16 days I walked across Spain on an ancient pilgrimage across the country to the tomb of Saint James the Apostle. This is a road that has been walked by Christians for hundreds of years.

Why? Well, I thought I knew.

I was so excited about the fun of the journey and opportunity for self discovery; how I was going to be on my own and do it all on my own. That did not last. Day 3 my knee gave out, I had blisters, I was afraid of a stress fracture, and I wanted to go home. Then, with the help of parents and friends I had met along the way (not to mention your prayers!) Jesus asked me the same question he asked Elijah in verse 9: “Why are you here?” I thought I knew. I rattled off reason after reason and kept trying to do it on my own. Day after day I could not. Day 4 I let a kind woman buy me a knee brace in Pamplona. I let people give me the lower bunk. Day 6 I got medicine and icy hot from kind fellow pilgrims—I could not have finished the day without either. People gave me places to stay, food, clothes, more than I could ever have imagined.

Finally I broke. I gave into His love and accepted the help I was offered, accepted his love. I opened every day in prayer. Each day now I pray the rosary from first joyful to fifth glorious for you!

I learned what Elijah did: God is in the soft, silent sound. During the past week of silence, God did so much in my heart that I am finally quiet enough to let Him lead. He got me over every hill I do not think I could climb. He helped me through the days when it was wet and cold and I still had five more miles to walk. He led me to the depths of my soul to heal my wounded heart.

In the silent sound God asked Elijah once again, “Why are you here?” I know my answer now, but that was between Him and me. My friends, you may not be called to walk across a country but we are all called to be still enough to listen and realize that He wants to lead us to places we never thought we could go, do things greater than we could ever imagine, be healed from wounds we never thought could close and give us peace. He asked us, “Why are you here?” Instead of trying to do it on your own, Let Him provide the answer. If I had thought of these 500 miles at the beginning of this journey, I would have given up. Instead, I let Him lead every step and now I was halfway there. Let Him lead. Listen to the still, small voice. I am praying for you, every day—be still. –1 Kings 19: 1–13

Ahab told Jezebel all that Elijah had done—that he had murdered all the prophets by the sword. Jezebel then sent a messenger to Elijah and said, “May the gods do thus to me and more, if by this time tomorrow I have not done with your life what was done to each of them. Elijah was afraid and fled for his life, going to Beer-sheba of Judah. He left his servant there and went a day’s journey into the wilderness, until he came to a solitary broom tree and sat beneath it. He prayed for death: “Enough, LORD! Take my life, for I am no better than my ancestors. He lay down and fell asleep under the solitary broom tree, but suddenly a messenger touched him and said, “Get up and eat!” He looked and there at his head was a hearth cake and a jug of water. After he ate and drank, he lay down again, but the angel of the Lord came back a second time, touched him and said, “Get up and eat or the journey will be too much for you!” He got up, ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he walked 40 days and 40 nights to the mountain of God, Horeb.

There he came to a cave, where he took shelter. But the word of the Lord came to him: Why are you here, Elijah? He answered: “I have been most zealous for the LORD, the God of hosts, but the Israelites have forsaken your covenant. They have destroyed your altars and murdered your prophets by the sword. I alone remain, and they seek to take my life.” Then the Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord; the Lord will pass by.” There was a strong and violent wind rending the mountains and crushing rocks before the Lord—but the Lord was not in the wind; after the wind, an earthquake—but the LORD was not in the earthquake; after the earthquake, fire—but the Lord was not in the fire; after the fire, a light silent sound.

When he heard this, Elijah hid his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. A voice said to him, “Why are you here, Elijah?”

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Gregory Petershack

Gregory Petershack is a campus ministry intern at Saint Mary’s Catholic Center in College Station, Texas. He is also studying English and Psychology at Texas A&M University. Gregory’s life plan is to follow wherever the Lord leads, especially if that is to a good book or fellowship with some new friends. He lives in San Antonio, Texas.

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