I was musing about the experience of Elijah.
« Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land » 1 Kings 17 :7
Elijah is in hiding. He prophesies before the king that God’s judgement of drought is about to fall upon the land and then God tells him to hide himself in a ravine.
Not a great assignment, but at least God tells him beforehand that he will be provided for. A brook will provide him with water and ravens will bring him meat.
So far, so good.
God giving us that kind of promise helps us take the step of faith.
But notice what happens then.
The brook dries up.
No advance statement from God this time.
No promise that it is all taken care of.
Elijah just watches, day by day, as the brook gets smaller and smaller,
muddier and muddier,
until finally it stops.
Takes a while for that to happen.
Elijah’s no fool. He knows there is a drought happening – he knew before anyone.
He knows that droughts cause brooks to dry up.
But he stays put.
Presumably he asked God about this. No doubt his prayers got more and more earnest, frantic even, as the situation worsens. But he stays. And stays. And stays. He has been brought here by God, he will not leave except God command him.
It is only at the point of disaster that God replies. Gives him a green light, a new directive, a place of provision. Relief !
« Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food. » I Kings 17 :9
Except it doesn’t work out so well.
following God’s precise instructions and stumbles into …
a disaster about to happen.
His divinely ordained provider is all out of provision.
In the valley he was about to die of thirst. Here there is water but no food.
Ironic or what ?
Tough assignment. God seems to go hard on those who you might think deserve the easiest ride – those who are already fully committed to Him, those who already engaged in God’s work.
The answer’s always faith. That thing we only do when there’s no other option. When all else fails. When we’re blocked in a corner we can’t get out of.
God loves faith.
He can’t get enough of it.
He wants to grow it everywhere He can.
Unfortunately (for us) circumstances of need are His only tool.
They are the soil in which faith grows.
The only soil.
Do I, do we, have the courage to pray for the faith to drink mud?
Faith that prays.
Faith that stays.
(Part 2 tomorrow – faith grows, stuff happens)