There are so many things in life that I will never be able to understand. I recall an old song that says, “And we’ll understand it better by and by.” In that Day we will not have the concerns that we do now on this earth. I often recite the scripture in Isaiah 55:8; “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways.”
In the 55th chapter of Isaiah, the people were foolish to act as if they knew what God was thinking and planning. His knowledge and wisdom are far greater than man’s. We are foolish to try to fit God into our mold — to make His plans and purposes conform to ours. Instead, we must strive to fit into His plans. In Proverbs 16:9; “In their hearts humans plan their own course, but the Lord establishes their steps.”
In 1998, the year of Jubilee, I made the pilgrimage to Israel. As I stood at the Western Gate/The Wailing Wall, I wrote my prayer requests down and folded them and placed them very tightly in a crack in the wall. God honored my prayer requests. With one of the prayer requests I had made to the Lord, it was for a job with the Federal Government as a USDA food inspector.
This is what I had planned to do for the rest of my life. Then on Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2001, while en-route to work, I was in a very traumatic auto accident. I thought my world had turned upside down. I did not understand why this had happened and I reflected on Isaiah 55:8; “My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are Your ways My ways.” And if fact, one of the biggest frustrations of the Christian life stems from a lack of understanding about God’s ways. There are times when we could really use a miracle, but He does not come through for us the way we think He should. Our unmet expectations lead to confusion, disappointment, and even anger. We might think, Why did the Lord let me down?”
God works in both supernatural and ordinary ways, and He determines the method. Elijah ate food miraculously delivered by ravens, but his water supply from a brook was completely natural. When the water dried up, the Lord could have made more spring from the ground but He didn’t. Sometimes God uses ordinary means to move us in a new direction. The curtailment of Elijah’s water supply opened the door for his next assignment. When the Lord withholds miraculous intervention and lets your brook dry up, He has something else planned for you.
Seeing the work of God in the miraculous is easy. But He’s just as involved in the everyday aspects of life as He is in any supernatural event. Look for His fingerprint in the day’s mundane activities. He is there, opening and closing doors, drying up one opportunity but initiating another. Concerning the subject of pardon, the plans and purposes of God in regard to forgiveness are as far above those of people as the heavens are higher than the earth (Isaiah 55:9).
People find it hard to forgive; they are slow to forgive an injury. Not so with God. He has no reluctance to forgive. His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not ours in regard to His plans in the creation and government of the world. He has plans for accomplishing His purposes which are different from ours, and He secures our own welfare. He disappoints our hopes; foils our expectations; crosses our designs; removes our property, or our friends; and thwarts our purposes in life. He leads us in a path which we had not intended and secures our ultimate happiness in modes which are contrary to all our designs and desires. We should form our plans with submission to the Highest purposes of God.
In 1st Kings 17: 1-7, Elijah has just stood before the King of Israel and delivered the message of judgment that God had given him. God commanded Elijah to hide himself away. It seems to me that God would want to keep Elijah in the face of Ahab. However, God’s ways are not our ways! God has a plan! He wants to transform Elijah from Elijah the Tishbite into Elijah the Man of God.
To accomplish this, God is sending Elijah to school. In the second verse, the name of the place means “to cut off, to cut down.” God has cut Elijah from public view so that He might cut him down to size. One of the hardest lessons the child of God will ever learn is that God must send you to Cherith before He can use you for His glory. Cherith by nature iis a lonely place, a hidden place.
Here Elijah would be removed from the spotlight. Here he would dwell alone while the Lord worked out His will in the prophet’s life. We must never overlook the power of the hidden life. It was in this place, hidden away from public view that Elijah became a man of God. It was here that he learned to trust God totally. It was here that Elijah was forced to learn to lean on the Lord.
Before the Lord can pour anything out of our vessels, He must first put something in them. We all need to learn the value of the hidden life. There is a part of us that the world see and a part they do not. It is the part that people do not see that defines us. it is the time spent alone, in the presence of God that can make us great for His Glory. How much time are you devoting to the hidden life?
There are times when we think God should use us more than He does. However, when He hides us away from the eye of the world, His plan is to grow us up in private so that He might display us for His glory in His time. A life that is lived in solitude, before the Lord is a life that will one day be used to bring Him great glory.
God wants us to come to the place where we are found faithful in the hidden life. When we are found faithful there, He will expand our sphere of influence and bring us out of the hidden place. Cherith was the only place Elijah could be and be right with God. If he had gone anywhere else, he would have starved to death.
When the Lord sends us to a difficult place in life, there is the tendency to be somewhere else. After all, who likes pain? Who likes sickness? Who likes financial trouble? Who likes to struggle? What we must learn is that if God sends us to a Cherith, He knows what He is doing.
The only place for us to be is, where God send us! If we come to a difficult situation, we can do no better than to submit to it as the will of God for our lives and learn to trust Him, while we are there. I truly think we forget Who is in control! It is the Lord who has sent you to Cherith, and this is part of His plan for your life. Therefore, you have two choices. The first is rebellion. You can fight God and stay in your Cherith longer, or like Elijah, you can submit to God, and He will work out His plan in your life. In other words, you can choose to be miserable as you go through the difficulties of life or you can choose to rejoice in spite of the situation.
There is a place for you that has been ordained by God. You can do no better in life than to be willing to follow Him there. It may be a hard place. It may be a place that hurts. God sent Elijah in the middle of nowhere to hide for protection and training. God’s call is accompanied by God’s provision. When the Lord puts you in a place where you can do nothing but trust Him, He has done you the greatest favor that He can extend outside of salvation.
When we come to the place where we are trusting Him and Him alone, we have reached a great level of growth. The whole purpose of God’s plan was to help Elijah come to the place where he could trust God for one day at a time. When our brook dries up, God has another channel of blessing already lined up for us! Sometimes the brooks of life dry up because God is pleased with us and desires to take us on to new and better things. He knows us and He knows that we would be reluctant to leave a place where everything was going perfectly.
Therefore, he will dry up our brook causing us be willing to go where He leads us. Sometimes, God allows the brook to dry up because we are guilty of trusting the brook more than we trust Him. We need to come to a place where we understand that God dries up the brooks of life, because He has something even bigger just down the road. God has chosen that dry brook as the vehicle to move you to a new place of blessing. We must come to a place where we just roll everything off onto the Lord and trust Him to take care of us.
If you are a child of God, may He help you come to a place where you realize that everything that happens in your life is part of God’s plan for you. And nothing can happen in you or to you that He does not allow. That makes all my dried brooks easier to deal with. Bring your needs to the Lord. If it is salvation. If you need the Lord to move in your life. If you feel abandoned and forsaken by God. Whatever the need, Jesus can meet it.
The same events that test us often become the means by which God is able to use us in ministry to others. Our trials often become vehicles for ministry opportunities. There is a three fold purpose for sending Elijah to the brook Cherith; protection of his life, the provision for his needs, and the preparation of his heart. God’s plan is seldom revealed in advance. We must be willing to be set aside to be used. God’s ways are always ordinary and some are miraculous. His thoughts and His ways are higher than our
Milley Brewington is a guest columnist for The Sampson Independent.