Lessons from the Rain

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To hear the rumble of thunder in the sky above and the drumming of rain against the windows was so refreshing! I looked through windows around me and the skies were dreary this morning. As I chilled on the couch, I felt a calming coolness in the air. It was definitely an overcast morning, but even in that moment when it was wet and dark, I found beauty.

It’s really been hot lately. The humidity drenching this island nation has been stifling! I remember about a year ago, my one goddaughter said, “This heat is disrespectful!” In fact, for a few years, I’ve noticed it has been feeling like summer from about April.

But despite the darkness which enveloped what may otherwise have been a bright morning, I took it all in with pleasure. The rain drops falling from the roof and splashing onto the grass and porch were music to my ears. Once the downpour had come to a crawl, I heard the beautiful singing of birds. Meantime overhead, a softer rumble of thunder, as a cool whiff of breeze flowed through the window, fanning my skin.

Then it happened. Suddenly. Just as I thought it was coming to an end, there was another steady downpour. I honestly welcomed it for the sake of the brittle, brown grass which seemingly has no life, but also because I needed this natural air conditioning system.

I was certain that at some point in the day, the sun would raise its head and its rays would return to scorching this part of the earth and its inhabitants. There is always sun after the rain.

I began to think of the people of Grand Bahama and Abaco who have literally just weathered the storm. Hurricane Dorian was torrential in every sense of the word. It was a downpour like none other. It rummaged through the islands like a drunken sailor.

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Photo:Reuters

 

Now here comes COVID-19 with its slippery, slick self – spreading its infected wings among our people, resulting in sickness, death, joblessness and throwing us into the economic doldrums.

It’s raining my people. For some, the rain is heavier than for others. So many people are struggling, hurting…wondering how bills will be paid and how food will get on the table. You see how easy it is to have a job today and lose that job today? You see how bills can be paid in full month after month and now there be a struggle to even give a down payment?

This is the time to trust God to provide ALL of your needs (Philippians 4:19). This is the same God who provided manna from heaven in the desert (Exodus 16:12-15). This is the same God who instructed the birds to feed Elijah during a famine (1 Kings 17:1-6). During this rain, let us draw closer to God, recognizing our dependence upon Him. He is the same God yesterday, today and forever. He is not like man. He cannot lie.

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Growing in Christ,

Hadassah

 

COVID-19: God is STILL in Control!

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In my lifetime, I cannot think of any other thing which has caught the world’s attention like COVID-19 (coronavirus). This virus almost has a personality of its own. It slithers its way into airports and palaces, hopping onto buses and trains, waits in line at the mom and pop store on the corner, flys to every continent – except Antarctica – and makes its way into homes, from celebrities to the common man.

It seems to have one mission: Steal. Kill. Destroy.

In fact, today, I visited the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website and saw the figure. An astonishing 23,495. That’s how many confirmed deaths from the coronavirus were recorded after 5 pm. At that hour, there was an overall 512,701 confirmed cases. From actor Tom Hanks and athletes to the United Kingdom’s Prime Minister, Boris Johnson and Britain’s Prince Charles, this virus does not discriminate. Nationality, gender, colour, social standing, education…none of this matters to the coronavirus.

More than ever before, people are exercising cleanliness. And I believe using hand sanitizer, washing our hands with soap and water for 20 seconds and infusing the atmosphere with Lysol are so embedded in our psyches that long after we have seen the coniving back of the coronavirus, many will still be exercising caution.

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I can’t help but think though that the God whom we serve is BIGGER than COVID-19. We are reminded in Psalm 46:1 that “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”

And certainly these are times of concern. I won’t attempt to downplay that fact, as so many people are affected in many ways. In fact, someone recently said on social media, “Can we start 2020 over?”

This pandemic though is cause for us to pause and think of how unpredictable life is. When the ball dropped in Times Square on January 1st and fireworks lit up the skyline over a river in Frankfurt, Germany…when we were sending “Happy New Year” greetings via WhatsApp, who really was thinking about COVID-19? Who thought nations’ health care personnel and resources would be so stretched? Who dreamed we would be standing six feet apart in line at the grocery store and not be able to hug a friend or relative? It is proof that in one year, one month, one week, one day, one hour…within one minute or even the next second, life could take an unexpected, unpredictable, unprecedented turn that’s unpleasant.

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But through it all, God is still in control. Psalm 107:29 says, “He maketh the storm a calm, so that the waves thereof are still.” He is the SAME God and through all of the panic, uncertainty and mounting deaths, he is saying to you…to me, the same three words recorded in Mark 9:39 – “Peace be still.”

Growing in Christ,

Hadassah

 

Expect Great Rain

I was recently looking at the life of Elijah. I love the stories of the Old Testament. I get so many life lessons from them.

Elijah’s servant had a front row seat to how God miraculous worked through this man of God. One instance was when the three-year famine was about to come to an end.

Elijah told his servant, “There is a sound of abundance of rain” (1 Kings 18:41). While on Mt. Carmel, Elijah was so confidant rain was coming and the end of the three-year famine was upon them, he sent his servant to look for coming rain. But nothing.

Every time the servant returned to report NO RAIN, Elijah sent him back because his expectation was of the Lord. It was not until the SEVENTH time, the servant was able to report: “…Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand” (v. 44). Not long after that, the heaven was black with clouds, wind and there was a “great rain” (v 45).

You’ve been waiting. You’ve been praying. You keep going to God – MORE than seven times. But nothing.

Has God made a promise to you? How long has it been since you received that Word? Are you weary? Battle weary? Has your faith wavered? Are you wondering if you truly heard from God? Have all you seen was a “little cloud”?

He’s promised you that husband. He’s promised you that baby. He’s promised you deliverance of that child. He has promised to raise you up off your bed of affliction. He has promised you restoration in your marriage…the salvation of your children. What has He promised YOU?

Keep going back to God. Put Him in remembrance of His Word (Isaiah 43:26). Nothing He has promised you shall fail.

“Look toward the sea” (43). Look with expectation. Expect a “great rain” (45). To borrow the words of singer Sinach: God is a way maker, miracle worker, light in the darkness.” He is a promise-keeping God.

Growing in Christ,

Hadassah

The God of Elijah!

It’s the early morning hours and I’m up reading with interest a story of the prophet Elijah. God had just revealed to him there would be no rain – not even dew – for three years. Essentially, he was told: famine coming!

What stood out to me was not only God provided for Elijah during this time of dearth, but it was HOW he provided that was so interesting.

In 1 Kings 17 verse 4, God “commanded the ravens to feed (Elijah).” We are told In verse six that they brought him bread and flesh each morning and evening; meanwhile, he drank of the brook. God provided food and water via birds!

Later, God told Elijah to go to Zarephath. God “commanded a woman there to sustain (him).”
Interestingly, she only had “a handful of meal in a barrel and a little oil in a cruse” for her and her son. Elijah – the man of God – comes along and instructs her to not only make a cake, but make it for him FIRST.

Now wait! This woman was a widow with barely enough. She wasn’t even making the proverbial end’s meet, so this request in today’s society might be considered, out of order, insensitive…ludicrous.

But clearly, this widow trusted this man of God and trusted the process. She did as told. She was not tight-fisted. Moreover, her obedience resulted in the barrel of meal not wasting and the crude of oil not failing during the entire three years of famine (v 14). Verse 15 says she “and her house did eat many days.” Wouldn’t our God do it??!

So much is wrapped up in this story:

1) God will provide in the most unconventional ways. You ever heard about birds bringing food daily? No going to the food store. Butler service!

You might think the school fees, gas to get to that interview for that job you so need, the grocery, the mortgage payment, the train ticket to go see your ailing grandmother, might come one way, but the beauty is not just when God shows up, but HOW he shows up. Expect the unexpected with God. Don’t box Him in!!! He is NOT man.

2) Despite recessions, despite increases in Value Added Tax (VAT), despite famine, GOD IS STILL GOD ALONE and will provide the entire time. It doesn’t matter what others are experiencing, if you remain obedient (this is key), if you remain faithful (also key), you shall not lack. “There is no want to those who fear Him” (Psalm 34: 9).

3) Even with your little…your only…your last, God is all sufficient. If you know without a doubt, He is instructing you to help someone in need, in spite of your own needs – do it. Sometimes God tests us with our little before handing us much.

Will you trust in the God of Elijah? Will you be obedient like the widow of Zarephath?

Growing in Christ,

Hadassah