In the Old Testament we are told of a prophet, Elijah, who told the wicked king Ahab that God was going to send a drought on the land because of the sinful leadership of Ahab and his wife, Jezebel. For three years Elijah said there would be no rain. Elijah then made camp at the brook Cherith where God told him the ravens would bring him food.
Day and night the ravens brought Elijah food and he drank from the brook. But then because of no rain, the brook died up.
Now what? Elijah had obeyed God and defied the king putting his own life in jeopardy and the provision that God had told him would be his at the brook was now gone.
The brook dried up.
Have you had those moments in your life? Times when you felt you were obeying God and trying to live in a way that was pleasing to him – but your brook dried up.
Maybe you had struggled to help someone in need – and they rejected your help or accepted your help and then rejected you.
Maybe you started a job or a project with great enthusiasm, but things did not go as you expected. You lost the job or the job became a burden instead of the joy you first had felt. The project was a big failure or someone else came along and took over and changed your ideas or took credit for your work.
Maybe you were losing weight and exercising and then you got very sick and could not continue with the exercise program and gained all your wieght back.
The list could go on and on about times when we lost hope, lost enthusiasm, lost joy in something we were doing that we felt was exactly what God wanted.
I think today of the teachers, the nurses, the retail workers, the truck drivers who have been subjected to such chaos that many have felt the brook has dried up for them.
What do we do when the brook dries up?
For Elijah God told him to go to another place. He sent him to a widow woman who was getting ready to fix a last meal for her and her son and then prepare to die as they had no more food left. Elijah told her to fix a meal for him first and then her and her son. As she acted in obedience to the man of God, God caused the meal and oil she had to not run out. She provided for both her son, herself and Elijah until the drought was over.
There is much we could pull from this, but the thing that stands out to me is that when the brook dried up, God still made a way of provision for Elijah.
If you read the rest of the story in the Bible you will see that as a result of Elijah’s journey not only were Elijah’s needs met, but he was an instrument to bring blessing to the woman and her son.
So what do we do when the brook dries up?
Like Elijah we continue to trust God seeking His guidance.
Like Elijah we continue to be open not only to our own needs but ask God to give us the insight, the compassion we need to be willing to help others in spite of our own state of discouragement.
Like Elijah we believe that God can bring good things from this time of a dried brook.
As I write these words I realize it is so easy to say these things, not so easy to actually do them when we are in that valley of discouragement.
For those who may find themselves there, I pray for God’s strength and peace will be yours as you wait for the rain.