Monday, November 28, 2005


WORD WEEK 11-27-05


I KINGS 18:43-45 43

"Go and look toward the sea," he told his servant. And he went up and looked. "There is nothing there," he said. Seven times Elijah said, "Go back." 44 The seventh time the servant reported, "A cloud as small as a man's hand is rising from the sea." So Elijah said, "Go and tell Ahab, 'Hitch up your chariot and go down before the rain stops you.' " 45 Meanwhile, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, a heavy rain came on and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. 46 The power of the LORD came upon Elijah and, tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.

Thanksgiving is now over, the turkey is carved, and family members have returned to their respective destinations. We are grateful to the LORD for the opportunity to reflect, pause, and render gratitude for GOD'S rich grace during the season of harvest. While many of us gathered around the table for fellowship and communion, we felt that our distresses and concerns were minuscule in the assembly of togetherness and love. Significantly, from having gathered together, we reemerged from this compelling encounter with the confidence that there is power and strength in number.
Subsequently, as the days pass into weeks, many of us are still struggling with the concerns and issues to which no resolution nor reprieve appears apparent. Many of us still have concerns about our family members, while others are confronted with the challenges of staying financially solvent, and still others are challenged with the residue of brokenness, grief, depression, loneliness, abandonment, and rejection.
Yes, we have rendered fervent thanks to the LORD for the miraculous manner in which he has protected and graced our lives with this cloak of love. Yet, we are still anticipating a much needed reprieve for agonies that linger, taunt, and haunt us oftentimes.
In I Kings 18, this narrative illuminates the struggles of a Prophet and the struggles of a People as famine was prevalent in the land of Samaria and Jezebel was killing the LORD'S prophets. However, Obadiah, a man of GOD, had taken 100 prophets and hidden them in caves; i.e., fifty in each cave with an adequate supply of food and libation.
Both Obadiah and Ahab contrive a plan so as to derail Jezebel while saving the animals commensurately. While on the Journey, Obadiah meets the Prophet, Elijah, who petitions Obadiah to inform Ahab of Elijah's presence. Obadiah is confused and fearful as he doubted that Elijah would reveal himself once he gave the message. However, Obadiah acquiesces in the request due to his trust in GOD verses his trust in his own understanding. Obadiah originally believed that he had done something wrong to incur GOD'S wrath; this was not the case!
Elijah informs Ahab, Israel, and all of the Prophets on Mount Carmel that those that be for GOD to proclaim so and that those who advocate for false gods to do the same. He tells them, though he be the last remaining prophet, that it is not he who has made trouble for Israel, but a consequence of the people and their people all of whom have turned their backs to the LORD.
After putting Baal to the test of GOD, Elijah requests that his servant look towards the sea. The servant reports that he sees nothing. Elijah requests that the servant go back a total of seven times and when he does, he reports that he saw a small cloud arise from the sea as small as the hand of a man. Elijah beckons the servant to inform Ahab and Israel to hitch their chariot because the LORD was moving. In the MEANTIME, the sky grew black with clouds, the wind rose, and a heavy rain occurred and Ahab rode off to Jezreel. The power of the LORD came upon Elijah, and tucking his cloak into his belt, he ran ahead of Ahab all the way to Jezreel.
Beloved, GOD offers you a resolution to your distress even while you are reading this right now. The aforementioned narrative illustrates for each of us that our journeys are full not only with the events themselves, but with MEANTIME events! While GOD petitions us to move accordingly to his plans for our lives, in the MEANTIME GOD is intervening in a miraculous manner!
MEANTIME moments are the instances when reason is elusive and hope appears to have taken a hiatus. MEANTIME moments are the instances when hopelessness and brokenness provokes the people of GOD to raise some life transforming existential questions about the purpose of our journey as far too many of GOD'S people have walked away from service in the MEANTIME; they have walked away from love in the MEANTIME; they have walked away from tolerance in the MEANTIME; they have walked away from a genuine desire to understand in the MEANTIME; they have walked away from openness as it requires too much authentic introspection in the MEANTIME; they have walked away from passion in the MEANTIME; they have walked away from integrity in the MEANTIME; they have walked away from power because they feel, far too frequently, defeated by the daily malaise of making it from one moment to the next in the MEANTIME! They have walked away without realizing that in the MEANTIME is the place where eternity meets our "NOW-HEREness" and the HOLY SPIRIT breaks open the widows of heaven and blesses us in ways that we have never conceived or imagined.
When you doubt, turn it over in the MEANTIME! When you are fearful, turn it over in the MEANTIME! When you see no way out, turn it over in the MEANTIME! When all of the odds appear to be against you, turn it over in the MEANTIME!
In the MEANTIME will you trust GOD? Have we not wondered to where/whom should we turn when things are in disarray? Have we not wondered to whom we could run to find a shoulder to lay our heads upon? Oh yes, we have wondered these things and many more? Thank GOD that we can be encouraged by him, turn to him, rest in him, and run to him! In times of distress, darkness, despair, danger, and death, thank GOD in/for the MEANTIME!
What does in the MEANTIME really mean? It means that GOD'S


K. Mason
(c) 2005
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