With my birthday around the corner, I am a year older. I have been thinking about this blog and I realized I have an obvious theme going so far. This year has been so trying. This year has been a challenge. This year has been a time when doubt has crept in and I have felt the squeeze. I am a bit older but I feel a bit weaker in my spirit.
But faith does not grow without a little doubt in the mix. Faith does not grow without a little opposition. So another year, and more faith for me.
In fact I recently just read a really useful blog post from Douglas Wilson:
“When we have a trouble, and have been praying urgently for deliverance, we should view every day without that deliverance as just another bucket of water on the altar — so that when the fire falls, God will receive greater glory.”
Another bucket of water on the altar. He is of course referring to the Elijah incident from first Kings 18. It records that awesome story of God revealing to the people that he was God not the Baals, as the false prophets had proclaimed. Just to emphasize the point that God was there and that he was working, Elijah had many buckets of water to drench the wood that he was going to try and start a fire with. Elijah used twelve buckets of water to cover and soak the offering and the wood, probably to represent the twelve tribes of Israel. One bucket for each tribe that needed to witness the true God.
Drenched wood, doesn’t burn.
Elijah made it clear, this is not a fire that he can start. In other words Elijah was making the point that he couldn’t prove that God is God. Only God can prove that he is God and in our midst. Only God can reveal himself to his people. Only God can come and rescue in this dark time. Only God can deliver us from evil. Only God can prove himself to be bigger, better, and stronger than the other gods.
My mess is drenched wood. Only God can start the fire.
The hope at the end of the day is that when God finally does let his fire fall his people will give him praise and him only. Elijah prays when he calls down the fire, his prayer that God will display his power.
“So these people will know that you,Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”
This is similar to what Jesus says when he raises Lazarus from the dead from the gospel of Luke.
“Father, I thank you that you have heard me.I knew that you always hear me, but I said this that they may believe that you sent me.”
Jesus makes it clear that this is a display of God’s power, this is to validate the message. While some may think it harsh that Jesus waits around for Lazarus to die before he comes to save him, it is made obvious that this was to reveal God’s power.
Our struggle may just be so that more of God’s power can be revealed. I know that this year I am in a place now where I can only hope on God’s power. God raises the dead. God lights the fire. Not Elijah, not me.
So in the end I am a year older but perhaps God has caused my faith to grow several.