“What are you doing here, Elijah?” 1 Kings 19:9,13
It's a great question. And to underscore the fact that it is a great question--one we all need to spend a little time considering--God asks it twice, just to make sure we (as well as Elijah) don't miss it. Elijah, the great prophet of God, is afraid and on the run, fleeing for his life. Circumstances have altered his perspective and shaken his faith. They have caused him to get so completely caught up in his own smaller story, that he has forgotten the larger story (and his larger God) altogether. So God comes to him, and asks him this incredibly penetrating question, to try and help him regain his vision and restore his trust.
“Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by," God says to Elijah. Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
It is so easy to lose perspective in the midst of the chaos and craziness of life. It is so easy to get completely caught up in our smaller stories and circumstances that we forget that there are much larger things afoot. It is so easy to be lulled to sleep by thinking that it is all about me, when, obviously, it is not. It is so easy to get consumed thinking about my life, or my ministry, or my circumstances, or my desires, or even my vacation, that I desperately need someone to come to me and ask me that wonderfully terrible question, "What are you doing here?" in order to wake me up to God, and to what He longs to do in and through me.