Letting Go and Letting God – Happy New Year 2012

Recently I have been studying the account of Elijah, who declared there would be no dew or rain for the next few years. (Reference 1st Kings Chapter 17)  As the prophesied drought began, the Lord guided Elijah to the Kerith Valley and provided a brook for water and ravens to bring food to him morning and evening.   Temporary provision was available for Elijah in this season of drought. However, one day the ravens stopped bringing food and the brook dried up.  Why, I wondered?  And then it came to me…

What an excellent example of how God will supply provision for us, even if only for a season. God knows the plans He has for us, and by drying up the brook and stopping the ravens from delivering food every morning and evening, Elijah had no choice but to move on.

Notice how the Lord gave him further instructions on the process to the next level.

“Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.” The New International Version. 2011 (1 Ki 17:9) 

Temporary provision can be a way the Lord encourages us to keep us moving in the direction he has laid out for us.  If the provision was permanent, we would most likely feel quite comfortable and settle there, not willing to leave on a faith walk.

So many things can change in our lives over time, our very best friends can betray us, our relationships can dry up, our church experiences disappoint us, we may lose our jobs, our status or our positions in life.   It can be so easy to get emotionally stuck, wasting hours and weeks longing for the ‘good old days’ before ‘the struggles’ happened.  And yet we are clearly encouraged to let go and move forward. 

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. The New International Version. 2011 (Heb 12:1–2)

And unless our eyes are firmly fixed on Jesus, it can feel too risky to move forward and we can settle in dry place in which God has long ago lifted his hand.  The favour has moved on and we must walk forward to the promised land.

When Elijah moved on in obedience to Zaratheth, he was met by a woman at the gate to the city just as the Lord had promised!   Now, in this new level of authority, Elijah raised the dead!

Give me your son,” Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed.    Then he cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, have you brought tragedy even on this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?” Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, let this boy’s life return to him!”  The Lord heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived.    Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, “Look, your son is alive!” The New International Version. 2011 (1 Ki 17:19–23)

Elijah had entered new season, and of  letting go of the old and embracing the new.

The Lord always wants to release you and I to a new level…. change is a step forward. It’s a part of His plan.  Moving forward may require us to leave behind – people, places, habits, conveniences, plans, structures and even dreams, but it always requires us to leave behind unforgiveness, bitterness, and anger.

Where am I in this season? Where are you?  What does God have for us in 2012?   In the process of moving forward in 2012, let’s take the time to honour the positive things we have learned from those negative prior experiences, and let’s move on to the next level in Christ.  

These things are for certain – He does have a plan for us.  He loves us unconditionally.  He understands our weaknesses.  So let’s keep our eyes firmly focused on Jesus as we enter a new year in a needy world, let's keep looking for opportunities to advance the Kingdom of God, and allow ourselves to be stretched and take a few risks in the process!  

Ring Out, Wild Bells

fom In Memoriam A.H.H. by Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1849)

Ring out, wild bells, to the wild sky,
   The flying cloud, the frosty light;
   The year is dying in the night;
Ring out, wild bells, and let him die.

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
   Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
   The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.

Ring out the grief that saps the mind,
   For those that here we see no more,
   Ring out the feud of rich and poor,
Ring in redress to all mankind.

Ring out a slowly dying cause,
   And ancient forms of party strife;
   Ring in the nobler modes of life,
With sweeter manners, purer laws.

Ring out the want, the care the sin,
   The faithless coldness of the times;
   Ring out, ring out my mournful rhymes,
But ring the fuller minstrel in.

Ring out false pride in place and blood,
   The civic slander and the spite;
   Ring in the love of truth and right,
Ring in the common love of good.

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
   Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
   Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

Ring in the valiant man and free,
   The larger heart, the kindlier hand;
   Ring out the darkness of the land,
Ring in the Christ that is to be.

May you and yours have a happy and Christ filled New Year!


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