Tuesday, July 28, 2009

God’s amazing provisions

Good morning. Today’s scripture comes from 1 Kings 19:3-6 (NIV):

Elijah was afraid and ran for his life. When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the desert. He came to a broom tree, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he said. “Take my life, I am no better than my ancestors.” Then he lay down under the tree and fell asleep. All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.” He looked around, and there by his head was a cake of bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water.

Have you ever felt like the prophet Elijah, where you throw up your hands and say “That’s it. I’ve had enough, Lord! Take my life!” Then you go take a nap. We’ve all had that “just wanna die” moment. Then we go to the bedroom, close the door and take a nap, falling asleep exhausted mentally, physically and spiritually, with tears in our eyes. Then we wake up an hour later with an angel at the foot of the bed with some milk and cookies. Happens to me all the time.

Elijah has just killed 400 of Jezebel’s pagan prophets, and he runs for his life. Elijah has been a faithful prophet to God who speaks the truth to King Ahab. Elijah felt alone in his diligence. He bravely confronts Ahab and his idolatry. Elijah felt afraid, depressed and abandoned, all at once. You can see why he ran, and why he just wanted to lie down and die. If he died, he knew he’d be in heaven with the Lord, and the running in fear would be over.

Instead of doing as Elijah wished, God provided a miracle for him. Next to him lay water and a hot meal. (Funny, but all the times I told my son I was going in my room for a nap, I never woke up to a bottled water and a hot loaf of sourdough bread.) Being totally wiped out, Elijah ate and went back to sleep. When he woke up, the angel told him to get off his butt and walk for 40 days and 40 nights to meet God at Horeb. Elijah did as he was told. His body was not ready for the long trip ahead.

God wasn’t done with Elijah, but before God could use Elijah, he had to meet his immediate needs. He nourished him and gave him rest for the journey, which was long and arduous. That’s how God works. He doesn’t throws us into a huge life scrape, then ask us to do some big mission when we’re scared and pooped. During that down time is when God meets us, but before he sends us out on a journey, he wants one thing from us: a relationship. God wants to know us, and he wants us to know him – intimately. That means time and energy put into the relationship.

It’s OK to be fearful, and it’s OK to be running on empty. It happens in life. For us to really get to know God, we must believe that he can provide miracles when we are without hope and have nowhere else to turn. Out of a job? Trust God to provide you with food, clothes and a roof over your head, because he promises us that much. We must also trust that God will provide the right job at the right time. Between now and then, he just wants to hang out, and he wants to hear from us. Even if all we have is pleas for God to take our life, God wants to hear our voices calling out to him. King David did it all the time, and God never tired of hearing from David.

Now get up. You don’t really want to die. Life is always worth living. There’s a journey ahead; we just don’t know where it leads, and that scares us. We aren’t in control anymore. Whether you’re unemployed or just in a rough job situation, God still has a plan for you. God first wants us to be nourished and rested up. Trust that God will provide. Sometimes God provides in ways that just amaze us. It’s during those times of astonishment that our faith in God is deepened. We grow more dependent on his provision. That’s what God wants us to know – that we can always rely on him.

How does this apply to my life?

Today’s prayer: Lord, thank you for your provisions. Help me to rest up for the journey you have for me ahead. Help me to wait patiently for you. Amen

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