A few months ago, I thought a flower bed had not survived the cold winter. I was encouraged the other day when I began to clean up my yard and noticed what I thought was dead was in fact a new beginning. When I looked closer at my flower bed, it was only dormant. The green was just beginning to peak through at the bottom of the plant. I thought I was going to have to start over. The plant was just waiting for the sun to shine and the temperature to increase. Growth happens after a dormant period. When everything is still and the plant is hunkered down for the long winter months, the growth is waiting on the right circumstances to pop out and become the beautiful landscape that it was designed to be.
My pastor had spoken the previous Sunday on Elijah. I was greatly encouraged by his message that God had inspired him to preach. I had been feeling a little down about my circumstances. The pastor spoke of the time when Elijah was just starting on the road to becoming the great prophet. Elijah had just spoken to Ahab, the King of Israel, about a drought that God was going to send upon the land. Once the word was given, God told Elijah to go to the Kerith Ravine. Elijah went underground (so to speak). While Elijah was waiting, God told him that the brook would be there for water and the ravens would feed him. Elijah waited for a long time. Scripture doesn’t give exact details except “some time later” the brook dried up. We know the drought was supposed to happen for three years. How long it took for the brook to dry up, I don’t know for sure.
I imagine the brook was like the stream that ran at the back of my parent’s property when they lived in the mountains. It didn’t carry much water most of the time except after a heavy rain. When I envision brook at Kerith, I think it was enough to meet Elijah’s need for that time. While Elijah waited, I wonder if he ever got discouraged. I mean really. Waiting by a small brook, having birds feed him day in and day out. No contact with others. Just him, the birds and the stream. It had to have been lonely, right? My pastor said this was the time of Elijah’s preparation. God had some work to do in Elijah before God could use him. Scripture is silent about Elijah’s conversations with God during those times. Being human, he had to have been having some conversations, don’t you think? When God when? Why God why? How God how? Elijah had to learn trust. Elijah had to learn patience. Yuck.
God had given me an opportunity to leave my job three years ago. My brook has been running for the last three years. I have had everything I have needed for that time. I left my job with the expectation that something else was right around the corner. That’s not what happened though. I have been in the midst of conversations with God for the last few weeks. I was reminded this is my season of preparation – this is the season of winter when I am still and wait for God’s timing. I was reminded when the brook dries up there was another provision for Elijah. As I wait, I am encouraged that new growth happens when everything looks dead on the outside, but the inside is transforming. It was the right message for the right time. Thank you Jesus for the reminder, you always have a plan even when it looks like nothing is happening.
I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. Psalms 27:13-14