Today we’re sharing an excerpt from Priscilla Shirer’s new study, Elijah. Order your copy or see a free sample today at LifeWay.com/Elijah.
Comfort and steadiness is what we crave, but overstaying our welcome in one place can rob us of the work God intends to do in us at the next one. In His wise and sovereign way, He often includes seasons of unsettledness where He transfers us out of the comfort and complacency of familiarity and moves us into a new place and position. It’s a necessary part of His process.
Each phase represents another refining stage in a divine progression of life. He deposits us into one season, with its own unique set of joys, challenges, people, and problems, and He lets us sit there a while. Pressing us. Sifting us. Purifying us. Then at the right time, when the work that needs to happen there is done, He unsettles us—sometimes in a way that feels forcible, sudden, and painful; other times in a nearly undetectable way that is organic, seamless, and can only be pinpointed in hindsight. Either way, He strategically pours us into a new place and space—with new people, with new circumstances, with new life dynamics—knowing this new environment will be the most suitable for whatever He wants to reshape in us next.
Then He does it again, and again—from a heart of love—for as long as we have breath in our lungs. He does it with our best interests in mind. He does it to make us better prepared for the Mount Carmels yet to come. Because if we’re never “poured from one container to another,” as Jeremiah 48:11 says, we stay unchanged. A foul taste remains in us.
Here’s the clear yet difficult task for all of us who want to grow with God, glean the lessons He wants to teach, and move toward fulfilling our unique, divinely mandated purpose. We must identify times of divine unsettling so we can release our grasp on one season and willingly move forward to the next, keeping our eyes, ears, and hearts open to receive everything God intends for us there.
Elijah wasn’t blind. He watched the brook of Cherith slowly dry up before his eyes (1 Kings 17:7). As each scorching, rainless day bled into the next, he knew his chances of survival in that secluded spot were going down, until finally the drought had baked his little creek bed into a bone-dry ribbon of dust. Very likely, given his commitment to a lifestyle of fervent prayer—as we saw in James 5—he was consistently discussing his predicament with God—seeking clarity, wisdom, and supply.
In this reality, we find our first lesson: sometimes we can discern that God is preparing to unsettle us when the resources needed to sustain us in our current position start to shrivel and dry up. Whether it’s the money required to support our current venture, the emotional reserves required to invest in a friendship, or the physical energy required to continue the pace of life we’ve known until now—when these resources start to diminish, look to God. Every day. Ask Him for clarity on why He’s allowed this deficiency, then wait for wisdom and direction. Don’t let panic set in as you sit beside the drying brook. Instead, “cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you” (Ps. 55:22). As you pray, God will either replenish your supply where you are or, as in Elijah’s case, He will keep on letting your brook dry up for the purpose of unsettling you and moving you onward.
If we aren’t spiritually discerning, we’ll be filled with alarm when our current resources begin drying up. We’ll panic instead of trust, become filled with hopelessness instead of eager anticipation about what’s to come. But Elijah’s narrative helps us see the possibility that when finances fade, when opportunities dwindle, when skills and creativity decline, or when any number of necessities become increasingly unavailable, a new location could likely be awaiting our arrival.
So seek God like Elijah did. Tune your spiritual ears to hear what He might be cuing you toward. And then—listen to me closely now, because here’s the part that goes against all our natural reflexes:
Let the brook go dry.
Don’t scratch and claw to hang onto the droplets that remain. Rest. Trust. And know that He promises to keep you and care for you and is planning to sustain you in another, more miraculous way. Don’t be discouraged. He is unsettling you in order to prepare you, to push you, to move you to the next stage of your journey toward purpose.
Want to learn more about Elijah? Watch the short video below or view a free sample and teaching video clips at LifeWay.com/Elijah.
And in case you missed it, we recently announced the Elijah online Bible study experience, starting February 16. You’ll be able to get everything you need to study along with us for one low price. Click here to learn more.
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