Oklahoma drought is real.
Oklahoma weather is predictably unpredictable. Blazing heat to blizzards. Powerful tornadoes or wind that sweeps down the plains. Crashing thunderstorms or gentle rains — or drought.
You see, rain is never a guarantee. That’s a bit nerve-racking for local farmers. And worrisome for moms.
Recently my (now adult) children reminded me of the time I made them go play outside in the rain. The summer had been completely dry. A large crack had appeared in our front yard with the city’s “no watering” ordinance. Son and Daughter had marveled at the growing crevice and soon asked how deep it was. I lost my 12 inch ruler down the hole! So when a sweet, gentle rain began one day, I dragged 2 bewildered kids into the yard to enjoy the refreshing rain. Yes, I am THAT weird. But you have to take those opportunities to enjoy God’s blessings – even in drought.
Disobedience led to drought
First Kings 17 begins with the prophet Elijah making an announcement to King Ahab who “did more ever in the eyes of the LORD than any of those before him.” This included worshiping the god Baal – whom locals considered “god of the sky.” Elijah tells this king that God proclaims there will be no rain for the next few years – except by His word. (17.1)
Then in verse 2, God commands Elijah to run. He gave clear instructions on where to go. Verse 3 says, “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 Elijah obeyed.
The ravens brought him bread and meat twice a day, and he drank from the brook. Wild ravens are not usually eager to share their food.
Drought hits the brook
Eventually the brook dries up because of the drought. Now, could God have kept this one, single brook filled just for Elijah? Of course, but He had other plans. God tells Elijah to go to Zarephath where a widow will help him.
When they meet, he asks her for water – and bread. She tells him she only has enough flour and oil for a final meal for herself and her son. Then they expected to die. Elijah promises to meet her needs throughout the drought. In verse 14, he tells her, “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.’ And she obeys without asking any questions. She has faith in God’s promise.
Both she and Elijah witness the multiplication of these basic pantry items. When she demonstrated strong faith and made obedience her priority, God made sustaining her HIS priority.
Worse than Drought
Some time later, the widow’s son grows sick and stops breathing. (V. 18) 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?” Harsh words from someone whose life had been saved by this prophet and his God’s miraculous provision. Someone who had been blessed with never-ending food staples. Now face with heart-breaking tragedy, her faith proved small and weak.
The prophet’s close bond with God kept her ever-away of her own sinful condition. And now her son’s illness and death felt like judgement against her.
But Elijah’s faith had grown! He saw God hold back the rain, and he witnessed the refilling of the flour and oil jars. Those miracles in this drought had nurtured his trust in God. So what did Elijah do? He carried the boy upstairs and prayed. “LORD my God, have you brought tragedy even on this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?” (V. 20)
His faith and dependence on God plus God’s unimaginable power restored the boy to life and health! Just like Jairus’ daughter, Lazarus, and our beloved Jesus, God conquered death. Mom gets even bigger proof of just exactly who Elijah works for.
What it means for me:
- When I am disobedient and stray from what God intends for me, I should expect an accompanying season of drought. My daily connection with God is what will maximize my growth and sustain me.
- God will make a way to sustain me when I am obedient. And even if that provision seems to dry up, something new will come along if I’m listening and willing to move on.
- Witnessing God’s provision and other miracles during drought should be enough to water, nurture, and grow my tiny mustard seed of faith. Then I can tap into that to ask God to do amazing things.
How often do I limit my prayers because I don’t trust in how big God really is? Do I actively look for ways to grow during times of drought?