I hate feeling dependent on others. Don’t you? I’m learning lots about this here in Costa Rica with a broken ankle. I’ve had to depend on Steve for a lot! But, maybe my independent spirit gets in the way of my spiritual growth at times.
While here in Costa Rica, I’ve been studying the life of Elijah. Elijah was perhaps the greatest of all the prophets in the, Old Testament. It’s very special story for me personally. We actually named our youngest daughter Kerith after the brook where God fed Elijah via Ravens who brought him food and the water from the stream. (I Kings 17) I imagine that time by the brook was a sweet time for Elijah witnessing God’s miraculous provision day after day. But, sweet seasons often come to an end, don’t they? For Elijah, “The brook dried up” (I Kings 17:7). Bummer.
Don’t you hate it when the brook dries up? What do you do then? You could complain, (one could argue that would be valid) you could scramble and “try harder” to provide for your own needs, (one could argue that would be rational) or, you could listen for God to show you what to do next (one could argue that would be ridiculous!) But, that’s what Elijah did. Elijah was extraordinary at listening to God and not taking things into his own hands. (I need to be more like that.)
What God told Elijah to do seemed a bit weird. God told him to visit a pagan widow in Zarephath. Through that widow God promised He would provide food for him. But, when Elijah found her it wasn’t like she said to Elijah, “I’ve been expecting you. Here’s all the food you need.” Nope. Elijah had to ask and honestly, his request could be considered rude. It wasn’t like she was wealthy and had more than enough. Nope. She only had enough bread for herself and her son! (I Kings 17: 8-12) Why on earth would she want to give food to Elijah? If I were her I’d take care of my kid first. Wouldn’t you? Surely Elijah, could survive a few hours with out food. Right?
But Elijah, confident that he had heard from God, persuaded her to meet his need saying, “Don’t be afraid.” Feed me first and your supply of food won’t run out. (my paraphrase).
What strikes me about this story is that faith calls us away from independence. God called Elijah to depend on this woman to feed him. God called on the widow to depend on Elijah’s words, the food supply wouldn’t run out. God called both of them to depend on Him.
In your life and mine, there will be seasons when the brook dries up. It will feel as though God is not providing for your needs. Maybe, it’s the brook of finances. Or, it could be the brook of life giving friendship. Or, it might be the brook of spiritual nurture. Here’s the thing, when the brook dries up and it appears God is not providing, let go of complaining and look for unexpected blessings from His hand. You might have to give up your independent spirit for a while, but God can provide in ways you can’t even imagine!
What lessons have you learned from depending on others? Leave a comment.