BACK AND FORTH!…1 Kings 17

As I look back on my life, I see lots of two steps forward, one back; one forward, three back.  How about you?  A straight arrow for the Lord?  I certainly hope so, but I’m not holding my breath!  If I had been, sure would have saved me from all kinds of dead-ends and wrong turns in my life.

This widow from Zarephath discovers that the God of Israel is calling her to help one of His prophets, Elijah.  She notes that Yahweh is a compassionate God, answering her prayers for help, when her local deity Baal seems to be off on vacation having turned off his cell phone!  Maybe he also neglected to put new batteries in his hearing aides.

Her oil and flour never run out, even though the famine and drought are in full swing with no end in sight.  Her faith grows with each new blessing.  So would ours.  Who doesn’t love God’s blessings poured out on us?  But then storm clouds are seen on the horizon.  This unnamed woman’s son becomes deathly ill.  He’s getting worse with each passing hour.  ‘Worse and worse’, the Bible says.  And then comes the end.  He’s gone.  Her only child.  All those days of oil and flour seem meaningless to her now.  All the food in the world can’t bring him back.

She turns to Elijah, railing at him in anger.  ‘Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?'(v.18).  She fears that God is inclined more to punishment than forgiveness, revenge more than love and mercy.  In the past He’s provided well for them, but now her world has been shattered.  Causes her to question the Lord.

How about you?  Haven’t you had times when your faith seemed to melt away in the flames of trouble?  Has God shown an unwelcome side of Himself?  I don’t tend to blame God when life turns ugly.  I figure that I deserve whatever comes my way.  As if God has given up on me.  This also stunts my faith in the Lord.

What to do?  That’s the question.  Elijah takes those heartaches and headaches to the Lord in prayer.  Guess we should do the same?  Wrap your hands around those troubles, go into a corner of a quiet room and pour yourself out to Him.  When answers come, you’ll know it.  But it may take awhile as if God is developing patience and trust in reluctant followers, like me!  Wait.  Hang in there.  She says, ‘Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth(v.24).  You’ll know too!

Prayer:  We trust you, Lord, and wait for your answers to all we’re praying about.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.


I miss the four seasons.  In Western Washington, we have a dry and warm summer, with lots of rainy weather in spring, fall and winter.  Not always.  Breaks do occur.  2 Timothy 4: 2– ‘preach the word; be ready in season and out of season…’  Rain or shine.  Good times…and all the others!

The Greek word for ‘in season’ means a divinely appointed opportunity.  ‘Out of season’ is the mirror opposite, referring to unwelcome times, sad moments in life, intrusions that turn our worlds upside-down. You know what I mean.

I remember getting a letter from my old denomination telling me that I was not to preach anymore, anywhere.  ‘Out of season’. How ironic that dear friends, who were Jewish, offered me their synagogue, urging me to start my own church.  How kind!  But, no, I wanted some peace.  ‘Out of season’ now seemed a permanent weather pattern for me.

But then a pastor friend, from the next town and my old denomination, asked me to preach for him.  A tiny patch of blue sky.   I did preach for him, and the rafters did not come a-tumblin’ down!  I thought I’d better check with the higher-ups in the denomination, hoping that a thaw was truly in the air. That the seasons were changing and I could be ‘in-season’ once again.  Wrong!

That’s when that letter arrived in my mailbox.  For them I was to be permanently ‘out of season’.  What was I to do?  Took their toxic missive to our local pastor’s Bible study group.  One of them asked me if God had called me to preach.  I said of course He had.  Then he asked me why I listened to these people.  I’ll never forget his next words.  Wisely he said –‘if God calls you to preach, you preach!’   Eight words…that said it all.

Went directly home.  Wrote a brief note, absent recrimination… resigning from their denomination.  Theirs…no longer mine.  Almost immediately, the clouds began to move out.  The sun started to peek through.  And a warm breeze ushered in a new day and a new season for me… from the Lord!  Ever since, the doors have been opening wider and wider!

How about for you?  Holding back because someone has put you on the upper shelf,  saying that you’re ‘out of season’?  A dream that you know has been from the Lord that someone has mocked and belittled, causing you to ‘clam up’?

Knock on doors.  See what opens and walk right on in!  Maybe your daily Bible reading seems ‘out of season’.  Read anyway.  A new season is coming.  Prayer life become stale and rote?  Take a few deep breaths and talk with Him.  Ask Him, knock on some doors, keep on seeking.  Watch what happens.   His new season is just around the corner!

Prayer:  Dear God, thank you for being our Lord.  We love you.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

WHAT’S THE DELAY? …John 20: 19-29

Why does everything have to be so immediate?  Packages ordered minutes ago, dropped  on our heads from an army of drones!  First thing I should order is a ‘hard hat’!  I want it NOW!  But when we get things, we want something different.  Things don’t satisfy.  We’re not content with what we have.

The Apostle Paul writes ‘…for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content'(Philippians 4:11).  He’d be laughed-out-of-town today with that advice. Bad for the economy!

There’s something about waiting that is good for us.  Getting what we want, when we want it, spoils us; leading to a lack of appreciation.  We can become manipulative.  Using people for our own devices.  Bullying, conniving, pushing and prodding to get our own way as if that will bring us happiness.

You wonder how I know so much about this!?  God has had me wait a long time for some really important things in my life.  That’s been good.  I don’t like waiting.  But to ‘wait on the Lord’ is absolutely critical.  And I’ve had to wait a long time…not so much for God to do something, but for me to grow up in Him, to be obedient.

God would be delighted to give me instant answers to my prayers, but He knows how much I need to sit at His feet, trusting that His timing is always best.  Not sitting around folding my hands, doing nothing.  That’s not me.  But what God is looking for is an inner reliance, a nod in His direction before all else.

Are you wondering what John 20 has to do with any of this?  It’s after Jesus’ resurrection. He’s appeared many times to His disciples, giving Himself forty days to reassure them before He ascends to His Father in heaven.  Forty days.  Thomas is having a hard time believing what the other’s have told him–that Jesus is alive!  He lays down the gauntlet–either I see Him with my own two eyes or all bets are off.  Verse 26 is what I’m looking at here.  ‘Eight days later…’   Eight days of waiting.

Jesus could have instantly appeared to Thomas.  He could have been dropped down on Thomas’ head by some angel-drone!   No, eight days went by.  The Lord was doing something in Thomas’ heart.  I don’t know what that was.  However, I do know that years went by with me toying with the Lord, reading the Bible hit-and-miss,  allowing the world to raise tough questions without seeking God’s Word for guidance and answers.

Took years for God to whittle those things away.  For the Bible to come front-and-center.  For me to move to the side.  I’m wondering if someone today needs to do much the same?  Do it.  Get serious with God.   You’ll never regret it.  Takes time.   Our times…in His hand.  Could we be in better hands?

Prayer:  Thank you Lord, for giving us your time and love.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.