For some people, living the God-life will never be what they perceive to be the good life. No matter how much they love God and exercise faith, they will never have the resources or life experiences they had hoped to have.
Years ago, Elijah made the decision to live the God-life. But none of us would have wanted his life.
God gave Elijah a message for the King. He would declare that the land was about to experience a drought. It would not rain again until God said otherwise. The king was not impressed with Elijah’s gift of prophecy. Elijah’s life was now at risk. So God gave Elijah a new message:
“Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.” So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.
1 Kings 17:3-6
Elijah did just what God asked of him. He delivered a terrible word of discouragement. He then had to leave his city. He was forced to run and hide in a ravine. His nutrition depended on birds and a slowly drying brook. The God-life? Sure. The good life? Hmmmm.
Doing the right thing does not always feel good…is not always noticed…and is not always rewarded. The worst things seem to happen to the best people. Do you ever look up to heaven and ask, “What more am I supposed to do? Why do things never work out for me?”
Somewhere embedded in that question is the belief that immediate success follows faithfulness. This is not true. Hope does come with the morning. But some nights are longer than others.
Eventually the brook dried up. God directed him to a certain city where he would meet a widow. She would supply him food.
So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.” “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.” 1 Kings 17:10-12
Now there are two people…living the God life…but not the good life.
Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’” 1 Kings 17:13-14
Even when resources are limited, hope can overflow
Elijah was able to look at her situation and see something she could not see.
So he went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah. Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing. She said to Elijah, “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?” 1 Kings 17:15-18
“Give me your son,” Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. Then he cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, have you brought tragedy even on this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?” Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, let this boy’s life return to him!” 1 Kings 17:19-21
The Lord heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived. Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, “Look, your son is alive!” 1 Kings 17:22-23
Some of God’s greatest miracles will come through you but will not be for you.
Good health and great wealth may be a part of God’s plan for me, but it will not prove God’s presence or determine my resolve to follow Him.