On our adult retreat last weekend, someone mentioned our journey & how God has things for us along the way that He provides for us on that particular journey or path. That really got me thinking about my “path” – my past path, my current path, and where that path will go in the future. I attempted to voice something about that at the retreat, but I got a little emotional (waaah!). I hate it when that happens. So, what I meant to say was…
As I look back over my personal path from birth to now, it’s overwhelming to trace God’s hand in my life. From before the moment I was formed in the womb, God knew everything about me. He knew where my path would lead, and He placed provision all along my path. He knew the family I would be born into. He provided me with parents that would teach me the basic foundations that I needed to become His child – that God is real, and the things of God are important. He provided people along the way to share the truth of the Gospel with me. Although I rejected that truth many times before I received it, I have specific vivid memories of people sharing the salvation message with me. And though I was lost and stumbling in the darkness, He still revealed Himself to me and graciously provided salvation when I finally called upon His name. My husband is the person who actually prayed with me to receive Christ as savior. Sometimes we call that “leading someone to the Lord,” but as I look at it, it was God’s own hand that led me to Himself, and I am so grateful for the people that allowed themselves to be placed by His hand along the way as provision for me.
The challenge now seems to be to stay on the path that God has ordained for me. It seems so tempting to take short cuts, or to just go a completely different direction than He is leading because I’m tired, or I’m weak, I’m feeling particularly faithless about the difficulty of the path, or maybe I just don’t see how that path is going to get me from point A to point B. But I am reminded by His word that my provision is on the path. The 23rd Psalm talks about God preparing a table for us in the presence of our enemies. A pathway to the presence of my enemies is not a path that I would normally choose to take, but if I know that God has a table prepared for me there, then I can go, knowing that His hand has been before me making provision.
The prophet Elijah, after making an unfavorable prophecy to King Ahab, was commanded by God to hide himself in a specific place that God had already provided for him. And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. 1 Kings 17:4 God had provided a place for Elijah, and food and drink. Notice the word there. God had commanded the ravens to feed Elijah at a specific place. I’m fairly certain that if Elijah had gone any other place, there wouldn’t be “trained ravens” waiting to serve him. In 1 Kings 17:6 We see that it happened just as God had said it would. And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook. But this is only because of 1 Kings 17:5: So he went and did according unto the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. You see, if he had not gone where God had sent him, Elijah would not only have missed out on provision from God, he would have missed witnessing miraculous provision from God.
When God makes miraculous provision from His own hand, what a faith builder that is! God knew that Elijah was going to need tremendous faith in Him, so He began to lovingly train Elijah to believe Him by revealing Himself to Elijah as his Provider. Think back to the times that God has miraculously made provision for you. Think about how your faith grew during those times, even though they may have been dark, lonely, times. When we consistenly seek the Provider and not the provision, our faith will grow tremendously.
How do we stay on the path when it’s dark? The Bible says Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path (Psalm 119:105). It is God’s Word that will direct us in dark times. It was no different for Elijah…1 Kings 17:2 says And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying,… When God’s Word came to Elijah on a dark and scary path, it made a light in the darkness. It was like a flashlight and lighted his path to the provision that God had for him.
If you find yourself off the path wondering where your provision is, go get your flashlight (the batteries never run out!) and seek direction from the One who directs our paths, then BE WILLING TO FOLLOW THAT PATH.
Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths. Proverbs 3:5-6
I’m a Believer!