REDIRECTION (BUMPER CARS!)
(1 Kings 17:7) And it happened after a while that the brook dried up . . .
I love bumper cars. You hop in, strap down and petal to the metal! It’s the only time you can legally crash into someone and have so much fun doing it! And as they are dazed and going in circles it’s time to go smash into someone else. But as you are on your way you unexpectantly get T-boned from the side and off you go in a direction you were not heading in. That is so much like the times in our lives when changes occur beyond our control. We talk so much in the Christian life about God directing our lives. But what about when God redirects your life? Let’s ask Elijah.
The prophet had been bold. He walked right up to wicked king Ahab and said there would be a famine for three years. Then the prophet was led by the Lord to hide by the brook Cherith. The ravens brought him bread and meat morning and evening, and he drank from the brook. But after a time, the brook dried up because it had stopped raining. Can you imagine Elijah observing the brook level going down day after day and getting concerned? It didn’t reconcile with what God had told him to do. But Elijah didn’t have to wait long because the word of the Lord came to him. He was to go to Zarephath about 85 miles away in the opposite direction and be provided for by a widow. God had something new for Elijah, so he let the brook dry up.
This story so resonates with me. There have been times where God led me so specifically and the circumstances provided security for me and my family. And then slowly but surely, I felt the nest being defeathered. Things began to happen beyond my control and ability to sustain my condition and environment. I would begin to be concerned. I would try not to worry. I knew if things kept trending a certain way it would not be good, and I would not be provided for. I would begin to pray and ask God what is up. Soon I would become aware that something new was on the horizon and I was to keep seeking direction from the Lord. I had to be open to change. God had something else for me and I had to accept it and face reality and move on. And every single time it was for my good! But I wouldn’t have made a move unless I was bit uncomfortable.
I was a pastor of a church for twenty-one years. We pioneered the ministry from scratch and held services in our living room. The church grew little by little and we moved from building to building until we got our own place. We went to multiple services and even founded a mission’s ministry. Things were good in “River City” . . . until Cheryl developed a brain tumor. She had surgery and it was to go well, but it didn’t. They got the tumor, but it left her with disabilities. Horrific cluster headaches (also called suicide headaches), permanent vertigo (they had to sever her balance nerve by her ear to reach the tumor), hearing loss, and tinnitus (constant ringing in the ear). I tried to keep up the pastoral ministry but after preaching I had to rush home to take care of Cheryl. You see the brook was drying up.
One day while driving on the freeway I asked the Lord what he had for me. He gave me the word “TOGETHER”. I knew we could not be pastor and wife together anymore serving the church. Cheryl’s health had taken her out. But I was led to resign and take the mission’s ministry back to my original sending church and serve missionaries full time! What a redirect from the Lord for Cheryl and me. We love what we are doing for the Lord now. And yes, I still love bumper cars!