So off and on today I’ve been thinking about the time Elijah spent at Cherith.
I don’t know about you, but I think that I might get frustrated by the whole Cherith experience. It was a time in history when Israel was filled with wickedness; there had been one bad king after another. Then Elijah comes along, a guy who doesn’t appear to have much of a pedigree (but whose name means “my God is Yahweh”) and he tells the evil king (who has an even more evil wife) that there is one God who is supreme, the God of Israel, and that this God will cause there to be no rain if Elijah but says the word. Then God directs Elijah to go to Cherith. At Cherith God provides food for Elijah’s needs via ravens bringing it to him, and water for him because there’s a stream there. The supernatural provision part is way cool, but I think I’d get bored after awhile. A more spiritual person might say that it was just him and God and how awesome that was; but I think I’d get bored.
Charles Swindoll, in his book about Elijah, brings out the point that Cherith was a time of being hidden. In his book he talks about how “we must be as willing to be hidden as to be out front”. Swindoll also quotes EB Meyer who said “the value of the hidden life…Every saintly soul that would wield great power with people must win it in some hidden Cherith. We cannot give out unless we have previously taken in.”
Elijah’s time at Cherith really speaks to me because of what I’ve been going through over the past several months. I’ve already talked enough here about my job loss and subsequent trials, that even I’m sick of hearing about it! Not only are there my own experiences, but I’ve had several dear ones, friends and acquaintances, who have been experiencing being “hidden” lately. People who have prepared, participated, worked, and now are having experiences that seem to put them on hold. Some of the experiences I’ve observed are: A few people I care about share how they have been diligent to prepare for ministry and then it seems that no ministry doors are opening for them. A friend who has been a wonderful children’s pastor at a church for more than 10 years was just fired. A young man whose heart has been set on being an Army Ranger and who’d worked hard for years to get to that point, recently failed the program. Maybe I’ve seen so much of this lately because the truth of life is that a time for seeming to be put on hold comes to us all.
When I’m in a Cherith time in my life, it’s easy to feel useless. But the Holy Spirit encouraged me that God uses these experiences, and this time away, to shape me for the next step in His plan.
What about you, have you experienced being “hidden” lately? How’s God used this time in your life?
I'm just grateful to God for His goodness to me and want to live my life following after Him. I've been blessed with 3 awesome sons and in July of 2005 I remarried. My husband truly knows me and still loves me - how much more blessed could I be!
I'll never forget the trouble, the utter lostness, the taste of ashes, the poison I've swallowed. I remember it all—oh, how well I remember— the feeling of hitting the bottom. But there's one other thing I remember, and remembering, I keep a grip on hope: God's loyal love couldn't have run out, his merciful love couldn't have dried up. They're created new every morning. How great your faithfulness!
I'm sticking with God (I say it over and over). He's all I've got left. God proves to be good to the man who passionately waits, to the woman who diligently seeks. It's a good thing to quietly hope, quietly hope for help from God. It's a good thing when you're young to stick it out through the hard times. When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don't ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don't run from trouble. Take it full-face. The "worst" is never the worst.
You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Perceptive words spread knowledge; fools are hollow—there's nothing to them. GOD can't stand pious poses, but he delights in genuine prayers. A life frittered away disgusts GOD; he loves those who run straight for the finish line.
So this is my prayer: that your love will flourish and that you will not only love much but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover's life, circumspect and exemplary, a life Jesus will be proud of: bountiful in fruits from the soul, making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God.