Grief can burden us in so many ways in this life.  Trials are another way that life can potentially be grievous for us. Sometimes it can be so all encompassing to us that we accept defeat during our trials.  We may even gripe about our situation and question everything we are undertaking in that moment. It is during these times that our perspective in this life can shape us or shake us.  I would like to offer to you sisters that our God is not a God of cruel and unusual punishment.  Anything that he allows in our lives, may temporarily shake us, but the intention is ALWAYS to shape us for HIS good work.

When I look at a long-standing trial the Israelites had to face in the Wilderness, it gives me insight into the heart of God.   It also reveals how God’s creation(us) can grumble through our days at the trials that we face.  Often, we misremember (in the dark days), the times when God was gracious, and the lessons he was walking us through.  Mostly we neglect to understand the faithfulness of God and what that means during these loving moments when he is trying us.

Deuteronomy 8:1-11 shares with us several details and valid purposes for trials we face.

• To humble us
• To test us
• To know the condition of our hearts and what lies in them
• To challenge our obedience to God
• To show us our need for God
• To show us God’s provision
• To show us God’s love
• To prompt us to worship

It is with this mind and perspective that I was able to look at Elijah’s situation and be encouraged through grief trials of my own.  Elijah the great prophet of the Old Testament had the unfortunate job of delivering some very uncomfortable news to King Ahab.  The delivering of this news would take Elijah on a journey in which he would be isolated, and eventually hunted by his enemy. This trial would test his will as a man and cause him to come into unique positions to submit to the will of God. This challenge to stand for God during a pivotal time in history where the belief system was in a culture shift, was a bold one and one of the hardest things a man could be asked to do.  To stand firm while everything around him was wavering.

God set Elijah aside and protected him by sending him into isolation. Then God used unconventional methods not only to provide for Elijah but to humble him in the process.  He fed him with unclean ravens who were savages and vultures.  He was showing Elijah that God can provide from the most unlikely and desolate place.  He was also showing Elijah that the Lord God was sovereign, and everything bends to the will of God’s authority. God was shaping Elijah for “the rest” of them amid his very hard trial.

Next God sent Elijah to a foreign land that was influenced by the very people he was trying to avoid.  God sent Elijah to a Phoenician, gentile, Baal worshipping woman.  Why is this significant?  Because remember (Eph. 2:3; 2:12-13) (Titus 3:3-7)?  When we made a distinction between brethren and “therest” God has now placed Elijah in the unique position to be able to offer a God whom this woman didn’t know to deliver her from a dire situation she didn’t realize she had.   To summarize Elijah had challenged this woman to trust the Living God, the true God, much like he had done to Ahab previously.  The difference is this time the woman decided to follow the instructions given to her by the prophet of God.  She did so, notknowing much about him or his God.  Something in Elijah must have illuminated to this woman that God was trustworthy.

You see sisters when you have previous experiences with God it is a confidence you wield not of yourself, but of the God that you know is able to deliver from any danger or horrible trial one may face.  It was the very truth Elijah knew. The truth he himself experienced. That if she put her trust in the promise of God her and her son would live.

But then later something happens, her son falls sick, and then he dies.  Wait a minute. WHAT?  But she did what God told her to do, he provided for her like the man of God said he would, but then he still brought this hardship on this woman anyway? Ladies sometimes even though we are following the instructions of God he throws us a curveball.  Enter grumbling. Vs. 16 Then she said to Elijah, “O man of God, what have you done to me?  Have you come here to point out my sins and kill my son?”

Remember this isn’t God’s way of being cruel, revisit the points I offered before.  He’s testing our hearts. Just that fast this woman had forgotten that the same God through his sovereignty, sent Elijah to point her to the provision of God and perform a miracle in her life.  She had not yet realized God was able to continue therein.  No matter how bleak life looked right now.

We next see Elijah take the boy from her and enter the place where Elijah had been staying.  This is where the story takes a shift because Elijah goes to the place where he took up habitation and I imagine had been meeting with God on several occasions, although the bible doesn’t disclose that fact.  We know Elijah was a man in tune with God and we see this is where he goes to pray to God about the boy.

He takes his grumble to God. It is in this room away from the woman, where Elijah calls out to God in despair and misunderstanding.  This was important because she was “the rest” and Elijah’s job in this moment was to be an example to someone who had no reason to trust the God he served.  He then begs of God to deliver the boy, and God answers Elijah and revives the boy.  Elijah then presents him to his mother alive.  Ultimately these encounters bring this woman to serve our true God and grants her a space in the faith hall of fame in Hebrews.

Why did I offer you this account? So that you and I can see that sometimes in life God must take us away from all that’s going on around us so we can just get a closer lean into him.  So, we can get fully exposed in his presence.   Sisters, I want you to recognize that every trial, we experience in this life that shakes us, is shaping our footprints so that we can walk into the lives of others, and they can emulate the God they see in us.  Our trials give us humility, and experience with God, and that experience breeds hope so that we can demonstrate the great love that God has for us to others.  Yes, these trials are madly uncomfortable, and we may feel the desire to grumble through them.

Let me suggest however, that you lean into your trials with the insight that God desires direct intimacy with you. That this trouble in our lives, though it is sometimes hard to deal with, offers with it the strong embrace and tender caress of God’s unwavering and undeniable love for us.  I will end with this note.

1Corinthians 10:13(NLT) “The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience.  And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand.  When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure” Be encouraged my sister!  God is amazingly faithful!

~Emily Moore
Billy’s Good Thing