And no, I'm not talking about MAHER-SHALAL-HASH-BAZ (Isaiah 8:1), CHU-SHAN-RISH-A-THA-IM (Judges 3:8), or BA-SHAN-HA-VOTH-JA-IR (Deuteronomy 3:14)! If you pay close attention, the three words that I'm writing about can be found in this passage:
" 1And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said unto Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel liveth, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word. 2And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, 3Get thee hence, and turn thee eastward, and hide thyself by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. 4And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there. 5So he went and did according unto the word of the LORD: for he went and dwelt by the brook Cherith, that is before Jordan. 6And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook. 7And it came to pass after a while, that the brook dried up, because there had been no rain in the land. 8And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, 9Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee." (1 Kings 17:1-9)
Did you see the three words? They are right there in verse 7: "after a while." How long is a while? Why couldn't it have been after an hour? After a day? After this next service? After this week? After this prayer meeting? After this ministry conference? As it is with our human nature, we like to have schedules, deadlines and appointments. To have a day on the calendar we can circle and have a definitive date set. We like to be able to plan things. However, this is not the way the Lord operates. He has His own schedule. He has His own way.
"For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isaiah 55:9)
I remember when I younger, we would go on family vacations. While driving to our destination, my sister and I would sit in the back seat and take turns asking the all-too-familiar questions: "Are we there yet?" "How much longer?" "When are we going to be there?" Which was always met with the conditioned response: "We will be there in a little while. Just sit there and be patient." Easy for them to say. How long is a little while anyway? I want minutes. I need a time-frame. I want to know WHEN! Even though they told us where we were going and what we were going to do whenever we finally got there, we still wanted to know when we were going to be there.
When we submit to God's will for our lives, and put our hand in His hand, He does the leading. And sometimes before we get to the place that He has called us to go, he brings us to another place to teach us valuable lessons. To show us that whenever we do get to where He's leading us that He will be able to sustain us. He calls us to a certain city. He calls us to a certain country. He calls us to a certain ministry. We know that He has called us and we even know where He has called us to. We know that He has plans for us. But it's taking a little long to come to pass. We know that blessings are in store. He has promised us certain things. They just haven't come to pass yet. We know that we are supposed to wait on the promises of the Lord. But we get antsy. We start questioning God. Am I really called to this place? Am I still in the will of God? What am I doing here? How much longer? How long are you going to have me stay here Lord?
"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end." (Jeremiah 29:11)
Whenever the Lord told Elijah to go to the brook Cherith, He already knew His plans for Elijah. He already had the widow woman in place in Zarephath. He knew what miracles were in store for Elijah. But, Elijah wasn't ready yet. The Lord still had to teach him a valuable lesson by the brook Cherith. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the mornings and evenings and he drank from the brook. God was teaching Elijah that he could depend solely upon Him. That God would provide his needs. The lesson was learned, the brook dried up, and God said, "alright now it's time to get where you are going."
Hang in there. You are where you're supposed to be. God knows your "expected end." He knows what He has in store for you. He's already got it mapped out. Remember He was a carpenter. He's pretty good with blueprints.