The story of Elijah and the Widow at Zarephath in 1 Kings 17 has been a great source of encouragement and comfort to me through some very difficult seasons. I’ve blogged about this passage before, and though I thought I’d checked it’s lesson off my spiritual growth chart – for reasons only God knows – I find myself grappling with the heart of it’s message again.
In the passage, Elijah is living near a brook called Cherith where God has miraculously provided water and an incredible meal service flown in on the wings of ravens during a severe famine. Without warning, in verse 7 the brook dries up and the ravens disappear. Verse 8 continues with God’s instructions to Elijah and a new promise of provision. It’s a fabulous chapter in Elijah’s life-story, but the part that really got me thinking is that tiny white space between verse 7 and 8.
Lately, I feel like that tiny space is where we live our lives. We’ve seen the miracle of God’s provision. He brought us to a place of safety and rest and we enjoyed it . . . but for reasons we still don’t understand, the water has run out. Our stomachs are starting to growl and we can’t see the birds that used to drop dinner from the sky. God hasn’t told us where we’re supposed to go or what we’re supposed to do or when He’ll be coming through for us. So we wait – through an excruciating pause in our story.
I don’t know what Elijah did between verse 7 and 8. I don’t know if he cursed the ground that swallowed up the brook and threw his fists to the air or if he turned away from what was gone to move forward with expectant faith. Surely he knew the provision of God was coming.
I know what I’ve been doing. I’ve been crying into a dry river bed wondering what happened to our security and our hope. I’ve been allowing the dust to sting my swollen eyes as I search the skies in vain. Never mind that I’ve seen God move in incredible ways in my life. Never mind that He’s never once – even for a second – left us empty-handed. Never mind that I know in a place somewhere even I can’t comprehend that God’s provision is coming.
It amazes me what volumes can be spoken in silent spaces.
That tiny pause in Elijah’s story revived my hope to believe there is a new chapter coming in our lives. I don’t know what God will do, or what story He will tell, but I do know there is more. God will not leave us at the end of our verse 7 without showing us the plan He has for verse 8.
God is big enough that you’re not going to be stuck in that tiny silent space forever either.
I don’t know what you may be going through right now. I don’t know what you’re missing, or what you’ve lost, or what you’re mourning. I know it’s going to take courage. I know it won’t lessen the pain that is being felt in this moment – in my heart or yours – but it’s time we step away.
Something new is coming.