This is a repost of a blog I did for Ashley Lagunas when I was in a hard season. It is so funny how many months later, this is still applicable.
This weeks Article on La Entrada I am featuring someone who inspires me! Writer Alaina Henderson shares Part 1 of a Part 2 Article on re-routing your life. Her life is an inspiration to me. Her words bring life and encouragement to my season, that I am on the right road, as bumpy and hard at times it can be, its the only road for me. Enjoy!
Alaina Henderson writes...
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” -Robert Frost
The well-known poem “The Road not Taken” speaks of the dilemma so many of us face not just once in our life, but regularly. One road seems perfectly paved for us, beckoning us forward. The other, looks as if it should have a giant "BRIDGE OUT" sign in front of it. Sometimes, we don't really have a choice. Circumstances out of our control have placed us on one or the other. Keep in mind, I am not using this metaphor in regards to salvation. This is about life, the hard decisions we must make as believers, and the difficult seasons we may go through.
Many of us tend to hang tightly on to the idea of the heroic Jesus, trusting that He will pull us out of the thorns and overgrowth of life and place us on a clear path. After all, being a Christian is supposed to make life easier, right? In reality, however, Jesus doesn't always pull us out. Sometimes the most heroic and loving thing He does is let us struggle through it. What we can be confident in, is that we aren't alone. He pulls us along through the overgrowth for His Glory. I have to fix my eyes not on my circumstances, but Him who endured it all. The best road to take is seldom the easiest. We see this time and time again in the life of the prophet, Elijah. Here we go:
The stage is set in 1 Kings chapter 16. King Ahab has been leading the people of Israel into more heinous acts than any of the kings before him. Baal worship, human sacrifice, Asherah poles. You name it, he did it. In chapter 17, Elijah enters the picture saying, “As surely as the Lord, the God of Israel, lives, whom I serve, there will be neither dew nor rain in the next few years except at my word.” And so, Elijah brought Gods discipline down even at the cost of his own well-being.
God, being super awesome, then led Elijah to a hidden brook where he would be dependent upon the Lord and a few ravens to bring him food. This story is so rich! Honestly, God could have ordered the ravens to feed Elijah anywhere. He specifically chose a location that would keep Elijah hidden away, resting, and dependent upon Him. There are so many times in our life when we are in the midst of a drought and we refuse to realize how much we actually need God. We push through the desert and go about living our lives as we wish, never giving Him a second thought until we are completely empty, broken, and dry.
Side note: As I did some research on the subject, I thought it was interesting that God used ravens, an animal considered unclean, to feed Elijah. God can honestly use anything, even things we perceive as inferior, to bring encouragement and nourishment. Even we, in our broken state, can be used for some good. Spurgeon said it best, "But see, too, how possible it is for us to carry bread and meat to God’s servants, and do, some good things for his church, and yet be ravens still!"
Elijah rested there for some time, drinking from the brook and eating out of God’s hand. It wasn’t until the brook was completely dried up that God told him to move on. Can you imagine drinking from a drying brook? I wonder if there was conflict in Elijah’s heart. Do I take things into my own hands and look for somewhere else that will quench my thirst or do I trust that God will care for me? In my own life, I am an addict to change. I’m always itching for the future, eager to move on to something else. The moment I sense difficulty and my “brook drying up,” I seek out a new brook. If we were to embrace the painful waiting period, what qualities would that bring out in us? Long-suffering, patience, trust, faith, perseverance, endurance, and of course, a greater dependence on God. So often we ask God for these qualities and yet refuse to experience discomfort to gain them.
After Elijah’s beloved brook dried up, God led him to be cared for by a starving widow and her dying son. This guy can never catch a break! How will the Ravens feed him, the drying brook nourish him, and a starving widow care for him? Through an act of faith on her part, God provided for all of them for somewhere around three years. With the ravens, Elijah was alone with God. Now, God specifically brought Elijah into a place of fellowship where he would rest, be encouraged, and yet still be fully dependent on Him. Is it possible that God was preparing Elijah these three years for the infamous mountain top incident in the following chapters? (I'm not going to spoil the story, go look it up ;) )
When you find yourselves on the overgrown path or in a drought, God may be asking you to be dependent upon Him. Which to be honest, is extremely uncomfortable. Yet, with time, we realize there is nothing more comfortable or beautiful. He may be letting us go through this season to prepare us for our mountain top. Personally, I've been encouraged tremendously by Elijah's story and by focusing on the reality of Jesus' sacrifice, His strength to endure it for me, and His willingness to take the hardest road so I wouldn't have to walk through this life alone. As for Elijah, things are about to get really good, then awful, then really good again (I’d say fantastic actually).
For now, this is where I leave you. If you are currently on the overgrown path wondering what you got yourself into, be encouraged. You are not alone and the Father is going to bring about great things in you and use you for even mightier things, if you lean on Him. If you are standing at the crossroads, be warned. The life of a Christian is not what most make it out to be. It was not designed to give you a free ticket to heaven and a white picket fence. It is full of pain and suffering. But it offers comfort, joy, peace, and the most adventurous, abundant life you could ever ask for. As William Wallace puts it, “Every man dies, but not every man really lives.” Are you part of the living?