My daughter and family unexpectedly showed up Sunday afternoon. We thought they were in Washington State, and they were the last time we spoke with them, which was only a few days prior to their return. In our minds we were not going to see them again for another few months, so naturally we asked, “What are you doing here?” That’s a great question with deeper meanings than that of a surprised visit.
Think about the question. This is the question the Lord asked Elijah when Elijah ran for his life from Jezebel. Elijah had just struck a great victory for God’s people and revival broke out on top of Mt. Carmel, but the revival never made it to Jezreel where Jezebel was waiting. She threatened Elijah with his life, and instead of standing against her, he ran acting as if he had been defeated. In just a short period of time, Elijah went from a great victory on a mountain, to a cave of despair as far away from God’s people as he could go. And the Lord asked, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
1 Kings 19:9-10 And there he went into a cave, and spent the night in that place; and behold, the word of the LORD [came] to him, and He said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” 10 So he said, “I have been very zealous for the LORD God of hosts; for the children of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars, and killed Your prophets with the sword. I alone am left; and they seek to take my life.”
God knows where you are today, but He would still ask, “What are you doing here?” God didn’t ask, “What are you doing there?” That question would imply that God was not there, but “here” implies God is there with you and you are not alone, but where are you? Can you identify your location? “What are you doing here?” Many have joined Elijah in that cave of despair. Where are you? Are you in a valley of depression or trapped in a circumstance out of your control? Are you living loaded down with guilt, shame or burdens? Have you gone into the far county like the prodigal son? Are you in the belly of a whale because you’ve ran from obedience to God? “What are you doing here?” Are you surrounded in a crowd of those who have no love for Christ? Are you living in the hurt from something in your past? Are you stalled out by the doubt in your faith? Are you living in a constant state of anger?
The Good News for wherever you are is that God visits the caves of our despairs and comes to lead us out. If you are not where you are supposed to be today, God would ask you, “What are you doing here?” He already knows the answer to how you got there, but He asks in order for you to recognize where you are and compel you to follow His voice back to a place of victorious living. It’s time to get back to where you belong in Christ.