When I was little I remember riding with my dad down highways and back roads and always passing over creek beds. As a little girl I was always intrigued to see if any of the creeks we were passing over had any water in them. The majority of the time the creeks were bone dry and usually riddled with cracks and old tree limbs, and possibly evidence of some junk that had been dumped there at some time. On occasion though, we would pass some creeks and there would be water in them. They would either have just a few puddles for the varmints to drink from or it was filled to the brim with runoff from the most recent rain.
There is a story in the bible in 1 Kings chapter 17 where we find Elijah hiding himself by the brook of Cherith experiencing God’s provision. Each day ravens brought him meat and bread in the morning and evening and Elijah drank from the brook for hydration. This story in the bible always makes me think of the creeks I saw as a kid and I have this image in my head of Elijah sitting on the side of the creek bank in the shade enjoying God’s nourishment provided to him by the ravens and probably thinking he was set! He had his water, his food and a place to rest, what more could he need?!
Elijah is sitting by this brook because He has just returned from visiting King Ahab and declaring that there will be no dew or rain on the land of Israel until Elijah gives the word. The Lord then tells Elijah to go sit by the brook of Cheirth and God commands the ravens to bring him bread and meat everyday, twice a day. Now looking at verses 7-9 we read, “and it happened after a while, that the brook dried up, because there was no rain in the land. Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there; behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.”
I was at a conference recently and a man by the name of Tim Ross was teaching on this scripture. I want to share with you some of the points he made. The first point was: to know that wherever the place is that God puts us He will provide for us. God will teach us how to trust Him in that odd place.
I have seen this happen so many times in my life. “God you want me to move where?” “You want me to do what?” “Do you know how crazy that sounds?” I remember the day that God spoke to me and told me He wanted me to be a stay at home mom. I was so shocked because I was looking at our budget and there was no mathematical way that would be possible. So I shard with DD what God had spoken to me and DD said, “well if that’s what God is leading you to do then, He will provide.” I could not believe my husband was taking this so lightly! Had he not seen our budget?! Yes, I had the desire to be a stay at home mom but logically, it didn’t make sense. So we prayed God would provide the way if that was His will. Two days later DD got a phone call from his now employer offering him a job. As they discussed the particulars of the job we realized that his new salary would cover what I was making and then some. Praise the Lord He had provided!!! The hard part was this new job was 3 hours away and would require us to move! That was the hardest decision for us for a number of reasons. We would be leaving our church family who we had an intimate relationship with, we would be leaving my dream house, and we would be leaving our dear friends. DD and I wrestled with this for a few weeks but the more we prayed about it we knew this was the next thing God had for us. So we prayed for a buyer for our house and the next day two of DD’s customers came into his office and asked if they could buy our house! One church member called a couple of days later and asked if they could buy our house! Ok Lord, we hear you, we are moving! So in June of 2009 DD and I left everything we known and headed into this new season God had for us. That move was so hard on us emotionally, it was odd and out of our comfort zone and we were terrified and feeling such a loss. Regardless of all of those feelings God’s hand was with us the entire way, he provided a job, a buyer for our house, a new home and more friends.
The second point that Tim Ross made was, “when the water is dried up don’t cry about it! Never fall in love with your place of provision, stay in love with the provider and where He want’s you!”
My how I have been guilty of falling in love with the place of provision! In all of the times we have moved God has provided a house for us, but somewhere along the way I began to see our house as the provision. I didn’t realize how guilty I was of this until the day that we had closed on the sale of the house we were living in and that afternoon we were to close on the house we were buying. Within that three hour time span DD and I joked that we were homeless! We thought we were so cute thinking of our homeless state until our realtor called and told us the people we were buying our next house from decide not to sell their house. Our cute jokes quickly turned into devastation, hurt, anger, worry and fear of the future. DD and I were so panicked in trying to figure out where our family was going to sleep that night, the creek had dried up! We had no idea what we were going to do, but God in his goodness prompted our dear friends to open up their home so we could live with them. We stayed with our friends for a few days until our friends found a barn with living quarters that we could live in for a few more weeks. Eventually we were able to find a rent house to move into and we lived there for two years. During those first few weeks I cried a lot and I remember feeling like God had pulled the rug out from under us. God soon began gently showing me that I had been looking at a house and my husbands job to be the source of our provision, I had removed God from his rightful spot of provider. Our house and financial security had become an idol to me. I was no longer trusting God in our season of abundance. Now I look back and I am grateful for that season and what the Lord taught me through it. I realize things could have been a lot worse than they were, but God was faithful to provide a roof over our heads every day and He still does.
I share all of this with you to encourage you that no matter where and what God calls you to, trust Him. He will always provide everything you need and will equip you for what He is calling you to. One day if you find that the creek has dried up, that place of provision is gone or you can see it coming to an end, don’t cry about it. God has something new for you and He wants to provide for you what you need. I am not just talking about finances, I am talking about relationships, ministries, callings on your life, etc. Look back at Elijah’s story, had he not been willing to move on to the new source of provision he would have not met the widow who God wanted to show himself mighty to by providing flour and oil for her and for bringing life back to her son. You never know who God wants to bless through you by redirecting your provision.