BACK AND FORTH FAITH…..Read 1 Kings 17 Again!

As I look back on my life in the Lord, I can see lots of two steps forward, one back; one step forward, three back and so forth. How about you? A straight line and arrow for the Lord? I hope so, but I’m not holding my breath! Wouldn’t that have been wonderful saving me and you from all kinds of dead-ends and wrong-way turns in our lives. Doesn’t take me long to mentally replay lots of terrible decisions, sinful choices and just plain going my own way. I know I’m not alone but that is faint consolation indeed. This widow from Zarephath discovers that the God of Israel, Yahweh, the One True God, is calling her to get involved helping out one of God’s choice prophets, Elijah. And she sees that Yahweh is a God of compassion answering her prayers for help when the local deity Baal just seems to be off on vacation having turned off his cell phone. Maybe he refused to put new batteries in his hearing-aids! The oil and flour never run out as long as the drought and famine are in full swing. Her faith grows as the blessings come day by day. And so would ours. I love it when blessings are poured out on me…showers of blessings along with those mercy-drops! You too? Of course! But then…oh, here we go. Storm clouds of a different sort are on the horizon coming our way. Storm clouds, not of needed rain, but of troubles and trials. Her son, her only son becomes ill. Sick as a dog and getting worse with each passing hour. ‘Worse and worse,’ the Bible says–and then his breath ceases, he’s gone, her only child. All those days of oil and flour are now useless for her son. He’s dead anyway and all the food in the world won’t bring him back. So, she turns to the prophet and rails against Elijah and, by implication, the Lord. ‘Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?’ (1 Kings 17:18). She wonders if God is more inclined toward punishment than forgiveness, revenge than love and compassion. He’s provided for her and her son and the prophet, but now this has happened. And it causes her to question all she’s recently believed about the Lord. How about you? Haven’t you had times when your faith seemed to just melt away in the flames of troubles? For me, I usually just blame myself and figure God has also given up on me and with good reason. Let you tell all about it! Still, blaming myself more than blaming God stunts my faith in our Lord. What to do? That’s the question, isn’t it? Like Elijah, take those heartaches and headaches to the Lord in prayer. Like Elijah, wrap your hands around them and go into the upper room of prayer and just pour yourself out to Him, over and over again. He never tires of hearing what is from our heart. Cry out, like Elijah did. And when the answers come, and you know it, then like that widow of so many years ago, you’ll say, ‘Now I know that you are a man of God and that the Word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth’ (1 Kings 17:24). You’ll know it…I’ll know it and our faith will keep on growing, now an in spite- of faith! Not perfect but stronger than ever…

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