For the next few weeks I want us thinking about how we can thrive during the dry seasons of our lives. Last week I talked about how we really have only two choices in times of difficulty: we can trust God, or we cannot. This week I want us to open our eyes to see God’s love throughout our lives, not only in times we think of as good.
When I graduated seminary I accepted a call to a church as a youth pastor. From the beginning this call was fraught with difficulty. My wife and I did not agree on this position, and the interim youth pastor made it clear that they would have been a better choice than me. If those conditions were not stressful enough, I walked into my first church board meeting to discover the church was in the midst of MAJOR conflict. I remember getting home and thinking “what have we gotten ourselves into!” Just a few weeks later I got really sick and needed emergency surgery as my appendix was about to burst. Just four days after getting out of the hospital, our family was involved in a roll-over accident on an ice-covered road in Minnesota. We totaled our car and ended up in the emergency room, but fortunately were all relatively ok.
At this point I was wondering aloud “Lord, where are you?!?” The answer was that God was right, there loving me every moment. In fact, if I was still and reflected upon it, God’s love was everywhere. He was there directing my hand in ministry through difficulty. He was there helping me through surgery, and He was most certainly there protecting my family in the accident. His love was all over the place, I was just choosing to ignore it.
Here is a perfect example of God’s love at works in the life of the prophet Elijah, who God lovingly protected during five years of drought:
You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.” So he went and did according to the word of the Lord. He went and lived by the brook Cherith that is east of the Jordan. And the ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook. 1 Kings 17:4-6
Now, do you think this is how Elijah would have wanted to spend the drought? No! He would have preferred a castle with an all you can eat buffet. Instead, he was fed out of the mouths of birds (every reflect on how gross that would be?). While it may not have been what he wanted, God was loving him through the drought. It is the same with us. Things may not always be how we want them to be, but God is still loving us. He still provides, still teaches via his Word, and most importantly, still graciously forgives us. In the difficulties of our lives we need to pause and see that God’s love is still present in SO MANY WAYS in our lives and eternities.