“There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city of God, the holy place of the tabernacles of the most High.” Psalm 46:4 (KJV)
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1 Kings 17:1-9
When we think of Elijah, we think of miracles. We remember how he raised the widow’s son from the dead. We remember his showdown with the prophets of Baal on Mount Carmel. We remember how he prayed for rain until a mighty storm came upon the land. We remember how he was carried away by a whirlwind into heaven.
But where was he before the miracles? What prepared him for a public ministry? Where did he gain the faith to ask for miracles? What gave him the courage to face the prophets of Baal?
He was hiding from the ruthless King Ahab and his evil wife Jezebel. He was alone at the Kerith Brook. He was being fed by ravens, sent by the hand of God. He was camped in the wilderness, isolated from everyone. He was totally dependent upon God and God alone to meet his every need.
And there, by the Kerith Brook, God did an amazing work in Elijah’s life. God revealed himself as the Great I Am, the one who will meet every need at exactly the right moment. He had the opportunity to be ministered to by God himself, to sit quietly by the brook absorbing God’s love. He had the time to see God’s faithfulness, to learn to trust his heart.
It was in his isolation, his time of greatest fear and need, that God prepared him for a bigger ministry.
Isn’t that just like God? He takes us to the end of ourselves, to a place where we are totally dependent upon him. He might strip us of everything that is important to us, take us to a place of utter brokenness. And there, in isolation by the Kerith Brook, he carefully tends to our needs. In the most unreal ways, he provides for us, feeds us, clothes us. And, in the process, we learn how much he loves us. We learn that we can trust him.
It is in our seasons of hurt and isolation that he does an amazing work in us.
But that amazing work in us is not for us alone. It is to prepare us for the amazing work God wants to do through us.
In his time of isolation, Elijah learned to trust God completely. He learned total and complete obedience to God. When God said, “Go,” Elijah immediately went to boldly confront King Ahab and his wife Jezebel, the very people from whom he had been hiding.
Determined to prove that Jehovah is the one true God, Elijah challenged the prophets of Baal to a showdown on Mount Carmel. After watching them beg and plead with their gods to consume the offering they offered, Elijah steps forward. He soaks the altar and the sacrifice with water. He wasn’t content to just have fire; He wanted to prove that his God was almighty.
Read- 1 Kings 18:36-39
A public ministry. A show of epic proportions. A demonstration of power from the one true God. An out-working of faith born at the Kerith Brook, born from a time of total and complete dependence on God.
Have you been to the Kerith Brook? Are you at the Kerith Brook today?
Your Kerith Brook might look quite different from Elijah’s. Maybe your Kerith involves unemployment. Financial ruin. Addiction. Maybe it stems from the death of a loved one, an unexpected and painful loss. Perhaps like me, your Kerith Brook is the pain of adultery and divorce. Maybe it is something totally different.
Regardless of circumstances, God’s plan is the same: he wants to use this time of isolation, this time of pain and loss, to mold you into his image. He wants to meet your every need. He wants to prove that he is good, loving, faithful. He wants to show himself as the Great I am. He wants to build your faith so that you can eventually leave the Kerith Brook.
Then, when he sees that you are ready, he will lead you to a mighty showdown, a place where his power and might can shine through you. He wants to take you from your place of isolation and pain to a place where he can use you to show-off to the world. He wants to take you to a place where you can boldly stand up and proclaim that you serve the one true God.
Are you at the Kerith Brook? Trust him. You never know what kind of amazing ministry he might be preparing you for!
Dr. Moody Stuart, a great praying man of a past generation, once drew up a set of rules to guide him in his prayers. Among these rules is this one: “Pray till you pray.” The difference between praying till you quit and praying till you pray is illustrated by the American evangelist John Wesley Lee. He often likened a eason of prayer to a church service, and insisted that many of us close the meeting before the service is over. He confessed that once he arose too soon from a prayer session and started down the street to take care of some pressing business. He had only gone a short distance when an inner voice reproached him. “Son,” the voice seemed to say, “did you not pronounce the benediction before the meeting was ended?” He understood, and at once hurried back to the place of prayer where he tarried till the burden lifted and the blessing came down.
The habit of breaking off our prayers before we have truly prayed is as common as it is unfortunate. Often the last ten minutes may mean more to us than the first half hour, because we must spend a long time getting into the proper mood to pray effectively. We may need to struggle with our thoughts to draw them in from where they have been scattered through the multitude of distractions that result from the task of living in a disordered world.
Here, as elsewhere in spiritual matters, we must be sure to distinguish the ideal from the real. Ideally we should be living moment-by-moment in a state of such perfect union with God that no special preparation is necessary. But actually there are few who can honestly say that this is their experience. Candor will compel most of us to admit that we often experience a struggle before we can escape from the emotional alienation and sense of unreality that sometimes settle over us as a sort of prevailing mood.
Whatever a dreamy idealism may say, we are forced to deal with things down on the level of practical reality. If when we come to prayer our hearts feel dull and unspiritual, we should not try to argue ourselves out of it. Rather, we should admit it frankly and pray our way
through. Some Christians smile at the thought of “praying through,” but something of the same idea is found in the writings of practically every great praying saint from Daniel to the present day. We cannot afford to stop praying till we have actually prayed. – A.W. Tower