The Haves And The Have-Nots


More times than I can count, various things I read in Scripture or hear from some other source, mesh. That’s the case this week. I recently talked about Elijah with a friend, then this morning the very story we were discussing was in my reading.

I’m referring to Elijah’s jumping off spot in his ministry. He prayed that it would not rain, and it didn’t for three years. Drought in those days meant famine, yet God took care of Elijah. First He led him to the brook Cherith where he not only had water but food that ravens brought him. Until the brook dried up.

I couldn’t help but wonder what Elijah thought as he saw the flow of water lessen day by day. Did he start cutting back on his water intake? Did he try to create a dam or dig around the edges to make a well? Did he doubt God’s plan and start checking the sky for rain clouds? Scripture doesn’t say. But we do know God led him from the dry brook to the town of Zerephath.

He went from the dry brook to the last of a widow’s food supply. When he came upon this woman, he asked for a drink of water and a bite to eat. She said she was in the process of making a last bread cake for herself and her son. Elijah said, Fine, but make me one first and don’t be afraid because your oil and your flour won’t run out.

I wonder what she thought. All she had to go on was this man’s word. God’s word actually. But she trusted completely and made him that bread cake.

In one sense she didn’t have, and Elijah didn’t have, but in another, they both were rich because they trusted God for His provision.

Couple that with the passage in Philippians I’ve been concentrating on this week. Paul tells the church in Philippi that he’s learned to be content in whatever circumstances he finds himself:

I know how to get along with humble means and how to live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled or going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
– Phil 4:12-13

It dawned on me that it’s possible for a person to have an abundance and simultaneously suffer need. For example, a few weeks ago a couple at church, Doug and Cindy Pickersgill, shared their testimony via video. He has ALS, and as you can imagine, they are suffering need as the disease destroys his body. But at the same time, he has an abundance of faith—an overflow, really—and the deep love of his wife and family. Simultaneously, he has abundance and suffers need.

But above all, it struck me that God is the one who enables a person to go through the suffering and to handle the abundance.

Not everyone does handle these two, but I don’t doubt God’s enabling power. He’s left us with examples in Scripture. I think, for example of Daniel’s three friends, condemned to die for not worshiping an idol. Their response was, God can save us, but even if He doesn’t, we’re not bowing before any other God.

They understood that in abundance (deliverance from death) or suffering (incineration in the furnace) God remains sovereign and faithful.

Published in: on December 2, 2010 at 6:52 pm  Comments Off on The Haves And The Have-Nots  
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