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Dried Up Promises

“Yours is the worst class.”

The words tossed over a shoulder exploded around me. I hoped I could hide my shame and anger—not anger at this other teacher, but anger at God.

“Yours is the worst class.”

The words tossed over a shoulder exploded around me. I hoped I could hide my shame and anger—not anger at this other teacher, but anger at God.

After teaching English in China for two semesters, I had decided to stay and teach a summer class as well. Four days a week, we taught our class all their lessons. One day a week, all the teachers would teach one lesson with the classes traveling between. Everyone had decided mine was the worst class.

My anger at God flared because I had prayed a lot about continuing on for this summer course. I had felt that I was supposed to stay—that it would be a summer of blessing—but I now felt that I had made a grave mistake, or God had.

One evening as I read 1 Kings 17, I found some words that resonated. During a drought, God leads Elijah to a riverbed that still has water. God had provided for him, and I suspect Elijah rejoiced in that moment. However, Elijah was still sitting at that river when all the water began to disappear (1 Kings 17:7). Not until the riverbed was dried up did God give him the next set of instructions.

I too felt I was watching promises dry up like a river in a drought. Bitterness was sprouting up like the rocks that get uncovered in that dry riverbed. Why had God led me to this place to watch my faith evaporate?

Yet through Elijah, I saw a man who had to trust when God’s promises seemingly dried up before his eyes. He had to sit there and know that God would provide when the time was right. Even if that meant God waited until seemingly the last minute.

Rather than run from place to place trying to find water, we should sit still as well. There are times we must trust that God will not let us dry up just because our circumstances are. In His timing, He will provide perfectly for us. He will not let us die; He will bring life.

As I waded through that summer of teaching, my class improved in small increments, and in the end, the teachers said they weren’t the worst class after all. Beyond that, I began trusting God more as I sat still before Him. And, I was able to remove a few of those rocks in the riverbed of my soul that I’d kept stubbing my toes on.

Lord, help us to sit still before you in the face of problems. Increase our faith so that we will see what you see rather than just a dried up old river bed. Give us strength to endure the wait and ears to hear you when you call for us to move again.

One Comment

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    Sharifa Stevens

    This sentence…

    This sentence is such a lesson to me (and a scary one at that): "Not until the riverbed was dried up did God give [Elijah] the next set of instructions."

    Boy, those are hard words to live by when you're thirsty. I was just reading something similar in Genesis 21:9-21. (And this story has always been a hard story for me to take in. It messes with my sense of justice.)

    Thank you for your wise adjurement, Jamie.