Points to Ponder: Faith Goes Deeper in Desperate Times
Points to Ponder
Faith Goes Deeper in Desperate Times
It is said that seasons of drought actually make trees stronger and less likely to topple over when the storms come. The dry times force the tree to sink its roots deeper into the ground in search of moisture. So it is for us when hope runs dry and the end seems near.
The prophet Elijah was sent to Zarephath. God said that there was a widow who would provide for him during the extended time of drought. It's interesting to read the story in I Kings 17:1-16 and see how God works in the midst of desperate circumstances. He told Elijah He had "commanded" her to provide for him. But she was not told this in so many words. No, the will of God for her came in the form of a challenge to her faith. She had only enough food left to feed her son and herself one last meager meal. Then death by starvation was all they had to look forward to. Elijah challenges her with his need:
And Elijah said to her, "Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. For thus says the LORD God of Israel: 'The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the LORD sends rain on the earth.'" (I Kings 17:13-14 NKJV)
Imagine some stranger saying to a mother, whose natural instinct is to protect her child, to take what would be part of the child's food and give it to him. Natural instinct would be defensive, insulted, and perhaps angry. Given the circumstances, and the apparent limitations of the moment, one might not consider the word of the Lord. How unreasonable is Elijah, daring to ask a starving widow to feed him first? In that society there was no one more destitute than a widow, especially one who is a single parent. But the call was not about feeding Elijah. It was about trusting God. Would God really keep the flour and oil from running out? She would not know until she drove the roots of her faith deeper and found out. Going against instinct and common sense, she would know the command of God - His purpose for her life in His greater plan - if she would dare put her hope in Him.
Some of us long to know God's will in our circumstances. What is His command for us? What is our role in His greater plan? The word does not always come in the form of an order. The widow was not even prepared for Elijah's arrival or his challenging request. Her mind was fixed on her desperate situation and the gloomy fate, which awaited her and her son. But God had a plan.
A challenge of trust in the face of impossible odds, a call for hope in the midst of hopelessness; these are in themselves at times commands from God. When we decide to trust and obey the word, which we have, the roots of faith push deeper and sources of strength are, found in places where we would otherwise not have gone.
As in the construction of a house, the foundation is the undergirding source of strength. What is under ground and unseen is bearing the load and holding the structure firmly in place when the storms come. But it cannot stand for long if the foundation is not deep and solid.
Jesus tells us that the storms of life will come. The challenges will be there. We have the teachings and the truth of the word. We have heard, we have read, and if we are wise we have studied and meditated on these things. And when the dry times come or when the storms blow in upon us, we sink our roots deeper into what He's given us. We rest on the foundation upon which we've built our lives. Strength is found in the deeper places. A life lived for God will force us to go there in desperate times.
"Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall." (Matthew 7:24-27 NKJV)
The wisest and strongest people you know are those who have given their all when all they had was gone. They stood firm in the storms and trusted in the Lord. Think of their names and faces. God did not let them down. We admire them and trust their wisdom.
Don't you think He may be making you into such a person as well? Desperate times call for deeper faith. As you consider the most faithful people you know, that's how they became the most faithful people you know. And so can you.
"For with God, nothing will be impossible." (Luke 1:37)
Pastor Whitmore is not affiliated with Picket News, nor does he submit material directly to our publication. We regularly reprint interesting articles found at his public web site, www.fumcl.org, and encourage all readers to visit for similar material.