When God’s people face a seemingly impossible crisis, the cry I most often hear is “Where is God in all of this? Is this punishment for the besetting sin I’ve struggled with for many years? Has he abandoned me?”
The story of Elijah shows how the Lord’s children ought to respond. As the prophet looked ahead to the coming famine, things must have looked absolutely hopeless to him; but God had a specific survival plan in mind for his faithful servant. He instructed the prophet, “Get away from here and turn eastward, and hide by the Brook Cherith, which flows into the Jordan. And it will be that you shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there” (1 Kings 17:3-4, NKJV).
How could any person ever dream up this kind of a plan for survival? How could Elijah ever have imagined he’d be sent to a hidden brook to find water to drink when there was nothing but drought everywhere else in the land? How could he ever have thought a daily supply of bread would be brought to him by ravenous birds that normally ate everything they sank their beaks into?
Later, times got hard for Elijah because the brook finally dried up, but God stepped in again, giving the prophet another fresh word of direction. He said, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and dwell there. See, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you” (1 Kings 17:9). How could anyone ever think a poor widow woman, in the midst of a depression, could feed a man for days, weeks, months on end?
The fact is that God uses the most despised, insignificant things of the world for his glory. The evidence is overwhelming. God — our adviser, counselor and survival expert — has a detailed plan for every one of his children, to help us face the worst of times. The Lord declares, “’I create the fruit of the lips: Peace, peace to him who is far off and to him who is near,’ says the Lord, ‘And I will heal him’” (Isaiah 57:19). The Hebrew word for “peace” here is “perfect peace.”
In the time of panic, God’s trusting people will be blessed with perfect peace.