In the book of I Kings, Elijah tells the disobedient king Ahab that there will be no dew nor rain on the earth “except by my word”. That word, of course, comes directly from God because Elijah is His faithful prophet – or mouthpiece. So what does God do? He tells Elijah – “Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan.”(I Kings 17:3).
Does that seem odd? God tells his mouthpiece there will be a huge drought, then tells him to go live by a brook – not a deep river like the Jordan or giant lake like Galilee, but a puny brook- one of the first water sources to most likely will dry up without rain. It is like saying, I am going to
bring about a great calamity and I want you to sit in the middle of it.
If you have ever been sure you were doing God’s will yet everything still went awry, you may understand Elijah’s predicament. If you have prayed for rain only to have your house destroyed by grass fire, or worn out your knees for the healing of a loved one only to watch them waste away, or spent the wee hours crouched by your bed or your teenager only to get that call in the middle of the night no parent ever wants to receive – you know.
But here’s the wonderful news. God promises to bring Elijah ravens to feed him bread and meat- the basics he’d need to keep going. He is saying, don’t worry- I will not forget you. I will sustain you. He does the same for each of us. All we need to do is trust and wait for the ravens.
Ravens are not pretty birds. They are noisy scavengers most others shoo away. Yet God can use anything and anyone to bring us comfort. He can take the ordinary and mundane and use it as a sign to give us what we need to make it through the day, the mood or the situation. Elijah trusted for God to provide. He didn’t question God’s motives or decisions. He accepted where God
had placed him for the moment and relied totally on God for everything. And when the brook did dry up, Elijah knew God would come up with a new plan.
What are your ravens while you wait for rain? What little acts, signs and bolstering of strength will God send you in the meantime? With a trusting heart, accept that you are where He wants you to be. Continue to pray. Read His Word. Be kind to others, serve in humility.
Too often don’t we spend our energy praying for what we think should be – like praying for a torrential downpour of rain when God has us in a drought? Did Elijah look longingly to the west at the Jordan River and ask bitterly why God had not told him to go there? Scripture doesn’t say so. He sat by his slowly evaporating brook and waited in trust.
Let us take a lesson from Elijah. Let us thank God for who He is, our Provider, and trust in that. Let us wait in anticipation for the ravens in the distance flying to care for us, lest we miss them. Let us sip from the little brook, knowing that if it dries up, God will come up with a new plan