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Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Big trouble . . . little faith?



And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:14 


One of the highlights of my life was when I visited the historical site of Zarephath, when driving up to the hill on which the city traditionally set, we stopped to watch a widow (dressed in black) as she picked up sticks to build a fire. No, it was not a staged scene, nor are most people aware of the traditional site of Zarephath.
Recently, I revisited 1 Kings 17:1-19 which tells the story of the despondent Prophet Elijah as he fled from the wicked King Ahab and his wife Jezebel.

Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah [the scriptures read]:"Leave here, turn eastward and hidein the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there."

Later, we are told that the brook dried up and God then sent him to Zarephath where the story unfolds of him meeting a widow at Zarephath who was picking up sticks. The first thought that crossed my mind is why would God send him to a brook that was going to dry up; then, of all things, transfer him to Zarephath?

Well, first of all it is obvious that God also wanted to work a miracle to keep this poor lady and her son from starving. But, why the brook for Elijah? Why not send him straight to Zarephath?

Of course, there are many real life parallels that can be drawn from the story; however, I wish to concentrate on just one of these, and that is the tremendous faith and courage that Elijah demonstrated when God told him to move on to Zarephath because He had prepared a widow there to take care of him. Then when Elijah got there he found out that she really did not have any of the supplies that God had promised. All she had was just a drop or two of oil and a handful of grain to make perhaps a couple of pieces of pita bread.

How dumb is that?

Most—well, perhaps not most, but many of the Christians I know would have given up when the brook dried up, then to face the odds to depend on a dirt poor widow to survive is almost unimaginable.

 The problem with that way of thinking, however, is that Elijah did not depend on a brook for water and scavenger birds for bread and meat or on a poor penniless widow to smooch off of for survival. God was his source.

Often we get all tied up in knots because things are not going the way we think they should. We have stepped out by faith and now the brook dries up; and when we finally muster enough faith to move on to what we expect to be the next great miracle in our live we faced with another hopeless situation.

It has happen to all of us at one time or the other in our journey through life, and when it does our mettle is really tested to the point that we just want to give up.  

Take courage, there is always another brook or widow that God has prepared for you to help you along the journey. Winning the lottery or some rich uncle dying and leaving his fortune is not the answer, either. Wishful thinking will get you nowhere; however, to trust in God under the bleakest circumstance will.

As far back as Habakkuk 2:4 the Bible tells us that the just shall live by faith. No, neither Paul nor Luther were the first to discover that wonderful truth. No that principle has been there all the time even before Habakkuk’s days. God is and always has kept his word. He continues throughout history to prove himself a very safe place in time of storm.

I have found that to be true and I can assure you that if you are facing bankruptcy or cancer, or for that matter a wayward child, God is there. He is not passive, either, in these circumstances. He is actively at work in the most minute and unimaginable ways. All we need do is trust and He will provide a way.

Now, may God use the words in some small way to help pull you along in the journey even in the face of the most unlikely circumstances.

As ever,