Authored by Jewel Roque
Imagine, if you will, the most powerful man in a country. He is the king. He has some major resources. His rule stretches far and wide. And he is evil.
In fact, so evil, it is said that he “did even more open evil before GOD than anyone yet—a new champion in evil!” The passage goes on to say, “It wasn’t enough for him to copy the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat; no, he went all out, first by marrying Jezebel—daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians—and then by serving and worshiping the god Baal. He built a temple for Baal in Samaria, and then furnished it with an altar for Baal. Worse, he went on and built a shrine to the sacred whore Asherah. He made the GOD of Israel angrier than all the previous kings of Israel put together.”1
His name, if you haven’t guessed it yet, was King Ahab.
Imagine now another man, just one, called by God to confront this powerful and wicked king.
Not just confront him, but to curse the very land, by saying, “As surely as GOD lives, the God of Israel before whom I stand in obedient service, the next years are going to see a total drought—not a drop of dew or rain unless I say otherwise.”2
Needless to say, the king was after this man’s life, whom you’ve probably figured out by now was Elijah, an Old Testament prophet.
But, of course, God wouldn’t leave His own man to fend for himself.
He told Elijah about a place where he could hide. “Get out of here, and fast. Head east and hide out at the Kerith Ravine on the other side of the Jordan River. You can drink fresh water from the brook; I’ve ordered the ravens to feed you.”3
It wasn’t raining anywhere in the land. Things looked dismal, but God had given him a place to wait until He would give word for him to move on once more. He even had a few birds as his personal waiters for breakfast and dinner. At first, Elijah was probably stoked.
He might have thought something like, “Well, I’ll just wait it out here until the rain comes, or Ahab has his own salvation experience, or he dies … whichever comes first.”
But none of those things happened. Instead, the brook began to dry up. The water, once flowing and bubbling over stones and clefts, turned into a thin, shallow creek.
Doubtless, Elijah watched the receding waterline with great concern as it went down, down, down. Finally, the water dwindled down to barely a trickle, and still no word from God.
He had no choice but to wait.
Has that ever happened to you? You made a decision that you knew was good for you and that you felt had God’s stamp of approval. Then after making this decision, nothing much happens. In fact, nothing at all … except that everything that you had hoped for or planned for appears to be falling apart all around you.
“What on earth is going on?” you’re tempted to ask. “I thought that this was part of God’s plan!” But you lose confidence in your decision, and you almost wonder if it really was His voice you heard in the first place. Sometimes there’s no way of knowing for sure, so you’re faced with waiting and holding on a little longer. Hoping. Trusting. And clinging to the only One who has led you this far.
But you’re still waiting! And it’s way more difficult than the “doing.”
If all this rings true to you (or maybe it will at some point in your life), it helps to know that it is in the waiting that we often find a greater faith than we ever had before, a greater strength than we thought was possible. A faith that comes only through times when you cannot see beyond the dwindling brook. A strength that only comes through times when we have nowhere to look but up—to the place where our help will always come from.
Elijah went on to perform some amazing and physics-defying feats. He was the conduit God used to feed a widow and her son throughout years of drought. He called down fire from the heavens. He slew hundreds of idol-worshipping false prophets. He brought someone back from the dead. He ran faster than a chariot once (that’s got to count for something). He never tasted death, but was instead taken into heaven.
But first—before his big break—all he could do was wait; he was left with no choice, really.
I have a feeling, though, that this was when his faith grew in a way it never had before. It is when he learned to recognize God’s voice not in the thunderous skies and quaking ground, but in the gentlest of whispers.
Can you hear it?
That’s okay. Your brook might not be dry enough yet. Just wait a little longer, trust, and smile.
The God who led Elijah to a river in the desert, and through the wilderness to a time of greater accomplishments and success than he probably ever thought possible, will do the same for you.
He promised. “Whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.”4
1 1 Kings 16:30–33 TM
2 1 Kings 17:1 TM
3 1 Kings 17:2-4 TM
4 John 14:12, 14 NIV
Read by Amber Larriva. Music by sindustry(CC). Copyright© 2012 by The Family International