Hot Summer Days

July 14, 2011

When the brook runs dry, faith becomes real.

It came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.  1 Kings 17:7


It is hot and dry in Texas. The reports are that this is the hottest it has ever been and still the heat keeps coming.  The talk is all about rain.  The ponds and stock tanks are long past dry.  The aquifer is disappearing by the day and the news is all about how far we have to go before we run out of it all.  But since that first mist recorded in Genesis that covered the earth, God alone will control the weather.  It is the finger of God that directs the clouds and the rain.  In our world of smart phones, IPads and computer “clouds” that we control, it will remain the one thing out of our control.

Elijah was a prophet of God, one of God’s other “fingers” that He used to set His plans in motion.  At God’s command, he told the wicked king Ahab that a drought would begin that would go on for years.  He was then sent to a little brook that slowly but surely went the way of every other bit of water in Israel until finally…

the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land.

When the brook dries up faith becomes real.  When the promise is complete, when the end of the task is at hand, when the final breath of the vision exhales and the air grows still, what you do next says more about faith than all of the blustery moralizing that proceeded.

The bible tells the stories of people whose brooks have dried up. It also  describes both the failed and faithful responses that followed.  The stories are not white washed but are a record of the lives of people like you and me who act like you and me.  Take Abraham and Sarah.  The story begins with a promise from God unlike any before or since.  “You shall have a son,” God says, “and your descendants will be more than anyone will be able to count.”  But they do not wait on God.  Hagar, a slave brought out of Egypt during Abraham’s previous lapse of faith, becomes his second wife and births Ishmael.  Since that time, Hagar’s name has been linked to the flesh… do you know anyone who named their beautiful baby girl after her?

But Hagar was just a pawn of the faithlessness of two people who knew God yet went about rearranging His rough stone altar of trust and obedience.  The uncut stones of that altar were replaced with the new and improved hand hewed stones of a better idea.  Their idea seemed to fit better than God’s unmeasured plan for the future.  Thank God he is faithful even in our failings.

My story is no different.  I can always see how things can “work out” to my betterment, yet it is seldom God’s way that it produces.  Instead, putting all plans aside and patiently waiting reveals the secret steps of a faithful God that can be followed to His promised blessing.  Such a simple lesson…

God goes before me and I am to follow.

F.B. Meyers wrote,

“God often does extricate us, because His mercy endureth forever; but if we had only waited first to see the unfolding of His plans, we should never have found ourselves landed in such an inextricable labyrinth; and we should never have been compelled to retrace our steps with so many tears of shame.  Wait, patiently wait!”

Has the brook of God’s favor dried up before you?  Are you drinking what seems like the last cup of God’s goodness before the unrelenting heat bears down on your dreams?    Even God’s miraculous provision runs dry.  Sooner or later, we all face a stone that covers the grave of our greatest hope.  And when it does,

“Wait, patiently wait!”

“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth… so will My word be which goes forth from My mouth.  It will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. For you will go out with joy And be led forth with peace ; The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up, And instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up, And it will be a memorial to the Lord, for an everlasting sign which will not be cut off.”  Isaiah 55:10-13

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