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The Los Angeles coastline faded as our Japanese ship sailed out of the harbor. Our destination in Brazil was the western jungle frontier. Our faith was strong that
God wanted us there. We had tested his guidance with three different fleeces, each overwhelmingly answered. Our friends were not convinced. “Is this faith or foolishness?” they asked.
Walking by faith often brings accusations of being foolhardy, rash, presumptuous. Elijah’s case justified these adjectives in an unbelieving world’s sight. The Bible says Elijah “was a man just like us”*, so I’ll try to imagine what he faced when God sent him to a widow in Sidon and said she would supply him with food during a famine..
“Why so far away?” he wondered, but obeyed. There he asked the widow for a drink of water, then for bread—obeying what God said.
What a shock when she said that she had no bread—only a handful of flour and a little oil; she was preparing the last meal for her and her son. Strong doubt flashed into his mind. This couldn’t be true! Was this the widow God said would take care of him?
But then God promised that the jar of flour and the jug of oil would not be used up until the day that he gave rain on the land.
Now Elijah must confront his daily doubts and trust for this miracle. Time proved the truth of what God said. Neither the oil nor flour gave out. All this girded him, flexed his spiritual muscles, for coming tests of faith that would be much more challenging.
Soon he would face hundreds of heathen prophets with their mocking and ridicule, in front of a drenched altar and sacrifice that needed fire from heaven to prove God’s superiority over their heathen god Baal. In spite of his declaration that rain would come, could he believe as he was confronted with what was impossible from a human standpoint? Did he falter as he watched a cloudless sky over that drought-stricken land? No, he stood firm. He remembered all that God had done before. Each test had fortified Elijah’s faith. The miracle rain came. God was faithful.
Standing at the rail of the ship we realized tests would be ahead for us in that new life in Brazil, trying to fit into that foreign culture, with unknown problems and obstacles along the way. But God hasn’t changed. He is still the same. He’s the same mircle-working God that Elijah worshipped. He would bring us through. So we sailed on in peace, trusting him to take us through these coming tests of faith in victory.
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*James 5:17 (NIV)
©Mary D. MacKinnon – All rights reserved
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