Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Bring On The Rain

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe[a] in Gilead, said to Ahab, “As the Lord the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.”  The word of the Lord came to him, saying, “Go from here and turn eastward, and hide yourself by the Wadi Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. You shall drink from the wadi, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” So he went and did according to the word of the Lord…   1 Kings 17:1-5a (NRSV)

Bring On The Rain
If you’ve worshipped on the mountaintop before, but now you’ve been in the desert for weeks or months; if it’s easier to squeeze water out of a rock than to find the words to pray, then you are no stranger to the rhythm of highs and lows in life. If you’ve ever experienced lasting defeat; if you’ve ever had all that you’ve come to depend on taken away for a season; if you’ve ever had to endure a seemingly endless famine in your life,  then hear me when I say there is hope. And I am especially talking to you, if you are going through a significant period of drought in your spiritual life, when the Lord seems far from you, and His presence seems to be strangely absent. 

Spiritual Deserts
Spiritual Deserts are absolutely the most mysterious and difficult times of the Christian life, but they are essential for growth in the faith.  In 1 Kings 17, all of Israel is in a spiritual drought.  There have been 19 evil Kings reigning over God’s people in a row.  And now the worst of them all, King Ahab, has taken a strangle hold on God’s people,  Israel.  He is an idol-serving, pagan-worshipping disgrace.  Even the priests have become corrupt—or they have flat-out run for their lives.  So, to counteract the spiritual drought, God’s prophet Elijah calls for a physical drought.  It was such a drought that not even a drop of dew could be found in the morning!

Droughts happen in every area of life, but the spiritual droughts are felt the most for a Christian.  When the brook runs dry in your soul, the easiest thing to do is to wrap yourself in the cocoon of despair and quit.  But despairing and quitting are hardly ever the godly options.  What do you do when your life source evaporates?

First of all, we notice that God still has a plan for Elijah - The word of the Lord came to him, saying, Go from here and turn eastward, and hide yourself by the Wadi Cherith, which is east of the Jordan...

A “wadi” is a small body of water that only appears during the rainy season. You know what that means?  It means that God sustained Elijah by a brook of water that SHOULD NOT HAVE EVEN EXISTED AT THAT TIME!

Could it be that the dry spell that you are in right now has a solution that you didn’t even know was possible?  You say you haven’t “felt” God’s presence much lately?  Maybe God is even now giving you strength through a deep-running spring that you didn’t even know existed.

The drought isn’t Elijah’s fault. But Elijah is called to be obedient in the midst of it. You too may be called to obey during a drought that you have absolutely no power to control. This is so hard. We also may be called to endure a drought that we did nothing to cause, but how we endure the drought is everything. Even if you are sure the drought is not of your own doing, examine your heart and life for those forgotten or unseen idols. You cannot control the drought, but you can control your responses and reactions to what happens. Work on yourself, don't blame others, and trust Him. Then - pray for rain. 

Sometimes it’s easy to become bitter when you don’t understand.  But understand this: God never calls us to endure a situation that He Himself is not prepared to sustain us through.  He’s the God of unending abundance; the God of surprise endings.  Trust Him. Rely on Him.  Use up whatever faith you have!  It will not be wasted and will be instantly replenished when you finally do see the way ahead.

I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Psalm 16:8

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