It’s the worst.
When you realize that what has been there all along is suddenly no longer there.
When what has been familiar, comfortable and predictable is no longer an option for you .
When you are questioning God as to why His promises that you once believed to be true just aren’t coming to pass.
God never ceases to amaze me at the lengths He’ll go and the things He’ll use to get us to the place He intended for us all along.
As I look back over my life, when a job I loved ended or friendships I thought would last a lifetime were severed or a situation just didn’t turn out as I had hoped ~ I realize now that it was God intervening to get me to move to a new place or season in my life, knowing now it was Him bringing those things to an end.
New beginnings are fun, exciting and hopeful. Endings are hard, painful and so very uncertain.
There’s a story in the Old Testament that has spoken hope and encouragement to me over the years, as I have faced endings and uncertainty. God also used this story to also speak direction and clarity to me most recently, at a time when I felt as though I would never see all that God had put in my heart to do concerning ministry.
In I Kings 17: 1-9 (NIV), Elijah, the prophet of the Lord, God’s spokesman, prophesied that “there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.” (v. 1)
God then directed Elijah to a specific ravine (brook) where he was told “you will drink from the brook, and I have ordered the ravens to feed you there.” (v.4) Elijah did just what God had instructed him to do… the brook provided for his thirst, the raven provided bread and meat for him to eat.
Verse 7 tells us that “some time later, the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land.” OF COURSE THE BROOK DRIED UP! God had just spoken through Elijah that He would not send any rain!
Verses 8-9 then states God’s further direction to Elijah. “Then the word of the Lord came to him (Elijah): Go at once to Zarephath… I have commanded a widow… to supply you with food.”
The story continues (I Kings 17: 10-24) as the woman tells Elijah she only has enough food for one day, enough for herself and her son. Elijah asks her to go ahead and make him some bread and bring him some water. The widow does so, and as Elijah prophecies to her, the food and water never ran out. (1stmiracle)
Soon after, the widow’s son becomes ill and dies. Elijah prays over her son and he is brought back to life! (2ndmiracle)
You might be asking “What does this Old Testament story have to do with me and my life?”
Had God not purposely dried up the brook that He once provided for Elijah to drink from, the miracles that He desired to perform for the widow and her son would never have happened.
God needed Elijah in a different place so that He could use him to perform miracles. And to get Elijah to that place, He allowed the brook to dry up.
God’s words of direction, His miracle of provision, and the miracle of Elijah praying the widow’s son back to life ALL happened because of a brook that ran dry… that in turn caused Elijah to move to the place that God had prepared for him… the place of miracles!
And so, there will be times that it seems as if a “brook” has dried up in your life to move you to the next place God has for you to witness the miracles that await you there. Perhaps God even using you to allow others to see the miracle workings of God!
That may mean an actual move in locations (as it was with Elijah), or it may mean a move out of one season into the next, or a move in your spiritual life that requires a giant leap of faith!
I could give you many, many examples of some “brooks” drying up in my own life over the years, but I’ll give you just one most recent example:
These very devotionals that I write for you every week came out of a season of my “brook” drying up. As most of you know, my husband and I started the Opelousas campus of Our Saviors Church over nine years ago. For over nine years, we have been a mobile church. We have had no permanent church building. We’ve held Sunday services in four different locations over these years, with each location being available to us only on Sunday’s.
We’ve had no place to gather for special services, bible studies, or any kind of extra gatherings outside of our Sunday services.
Because of that, I have had no place to meet with women (in large groups) to teach, train, disciple, etc., and as my greatest passion is ministry to women, there were days when I wondered if a consistent gathering of women would ever be a reality at our Opelousas campus.
There have been a handful of times over our nine-year existence that I have been able to do a few women’s nights/events and bible studies for our women, but nothing close to what I knew in my heart was possible for our women and our community.
A few years ago, as I was pondering (but honestly, I was complaining :)) over our lack of facilities, I felt impressed by God (and confirmed by other people in my life) that what I could do was utilize technology and begin writing teachings and devotionals to our women to post on my website. If other women outside our church wanted to take advantage of these resources I would write, then awesome! But my main goal was to resource our women at our local church until the time came that we had a permanent church building.
We are now very close to moving into our new church home and we are beyond thrilled and SO grateful! And I will continue writing these devotionals even after we move into our new church home. 🙂
All that to say that these devotionals were birthed out of a place in my own life where my “brook” had run dry and it was God who had allowed it to dry up! Had we been in a permanent church home, I would not have even ventured into the journey of writing, but yet God knew what needed to happen (or not happen) to get me to a place of writing… a place that I did not have confidence in myself at all!!
God knew the “place” where He wanted me to step out in great faith, so He allowed a brook to run dry in my life to get me to “move” to the place of greater faith! God knew that there were women, even outside our local church, that would need words of encouragement, hope, love, forgiveness and grace to face all that life held for them.
He knew that, if He could get me to move to a place that was outside my comfort zone, my faith would have to grow in order for me to be obedient to the assignment He was asking of me.
And it all happened because God allowed my “brook” to run dry!
And so… how about you? Is there something in your life that is running dry?
Something that you can’t quite figure out but know that God possibly is allowing it to become dry?
Is God trying to move you to a “place” where His miracles await you but a gigantic step of faith is required?
Have you mistaken your brook “running dry” as the workings of the enemy of your soul, or even the workings of other people?
I will tell you this, however: it takes great discernment and the leading of the spirit of God to know when your brook is drying up! You cannot use this truth as an excuse to get out of a season, out of a job, out of a marriage, or out of an assignment from God just because you have hit rough waters.
God never called us to a life that was easy and smooth. He’s called us to a life of obedience and surrender.
And it HAS to be the leading of the Holy Spirit and revelation from God that your “brook” may indeed be drying up, and that God might be asking you to move to a “place” that He has already prepared for you to go.
And so, like Elijah, listen for God’s words of direction. Be attentive to the Holy Spirit and His leading. And once you have clear direction from God, step out in faith to the place where miracles await!