June 2, 2010

God's promise

It is a sad day on the Alabama Gulf Coast. Forty-some-odd days of waiting and hoping and worrying have ended and the is oil is expected to make beach-fall in Baldwin County sometime today. This might not be so depressing if any of the attempts to slow/stop the gush of oil had been successful, but instead, with the top-kill failing over the weekend, hope dwindling of stopping it before August is fading, and with that, the mess arrives at our beaches/marshes at the worst possible time.

I'm debating this week whether or not to preach about the disaster this Sunday. In light of everything I said above, it seems like now is the time.

We are the Widow of Zarephath.

We have stared a disaster in the face. We have *barely* mustered enough faith to trust God, and now, the worst has happened. Our son is dead. Our world has changed. Our last string of support has been cut. We need help.

"What do you have against us, O God? Why do you constantly remind us of our sin? Why did you allow our world to change? I hate you God. Why don't you just go away!"

These reactions are a) not abnormal and b) OK. Yell at God, he can take it, but know that God is in the midst of even our worst suffering. He didn't cause the rig to explode or the top-kill to fail, but he is letting us reap the results of our own selfish actions. We want oil. We want a lot of it. We want it cheap. BP will give us oil. They will give us a lot. They will even make it cheap, but to do so, and to maximize profits, they will have to cut corners.

We win.
They win.
And yet we all lose.

Look back, though, on the promise of Elijah to the widow who was about to run out of food. He didn't promise her a winning lottery ticket, or a full grain silo, or a bread factory. All he promised her was that, if she trusted God and shared her food, she would not run out. Each day would still be struggle. Each night she'd still go to be hoping tomorrow there would be enough. Each morning she would wake up wondering if she could keep her Son alive another day. But she would always have enough.

God will provide for us in this crisis too. Maybe our tourism will all but dry up. Maybe our current way of life will change. Maybe our economy will tank. But, if we are faithful, if we can muster enough trust, we will survive.

When the widow's son rises from the dead, she says to Elijah, "Now I know you are a man of God." Really, she knew it all along, but now she knows something new about the God of provision. Sometimes, that provision is barely enough to squeak by and sometimes it is a miracle beyond expectation. Either way, God's promises are true. Have faith. There will be enough.

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