Awaiting Provision

by Rachel
Several months ago, I shared a message at family worship from 1 Kings about the prophet Elijah. I've been working my way through a Bible study entitled "Elijah: Faith and Fire" by Priscilla Shirer, and one of the chapters felt particularly meaningful to me, so I thought I'd share it with our team (and now with all of you). In 1 Kings 17, Elijah shows up to the Israelite king, Ahab, and shares a word from the Lord that due to Ahab's wickedness and Israel's rebellion, God is sending a drought on the land. He leaves the palace and ends up going into hiding for three years. God hides Elijah in a small ravine with a brook...and how does Elijah get food? "The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening." 

 So here at Kibuye we don't have ravens, but we have the African pied crow, which must certainly be a close cousin. These are not anyone's favorite birds. They look angry/evil (with beady eyes), they make a lot of noise, and they steal things and cause a nuisance. We have amassed some stories of them over the years in their devious behaviors...stealing eggs and produce from our market baskets, killing small animals (even pet chicks), and even one year swiping Easter eggs from our Easter egg hunt (and somehow managing to open them and eat the candy inside). I gather that ravens are much the same. These are not the kind of birds or animals that seems generous in any way. Bring food? Absolutely not--they are much more likely to eat it for themselves! And in addition, they are found on the list of "unclean" creatures that God forbids the Israelites to eat in His law. And yet this unimaginable event is how God chooses to provide for Elijah, for years. When the brook dries up and Elijah has to go elsewhere, God sends him out of Israel to a pagan land (the homeland of Queen Jezebel, actually, who is trying to kill him) and has him go to an impoverished widow to ask for food, of which she has almost none. A foreigner, bottom of society, vulnerable, starving woman. Another unimaginable provision. 

Shirer points to Ephesians 3 at this point. "Now to him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be the glory in the church by Christ Jesus..." She writes in her study, "God can craft solutions and remedies for me beyond my ability to reason...your loving Father has categories of answers, solutions, and options for you and your life that you don't even know exist...have you fully trusted him to do what he wants to do, the way he wants to do it?" 

There's a lot of application here for us in Burundi. We're wrapping up another wonderful school year at KHA, but we're awaiting the provision of another teacher or intern for next year. It seems to us that providing another teacher would be a great way for God to meet our needs! But is that how he will work? Will he send someone now, or later, or never (or maybe he'll send YOU!)? There are so many lives being changed at the hospital, but we pray for more staff and better outcomes. Will God provide miraculous healing, lower patient numbers, send extra staff? Or will He use this season to help us lean into him more? I need to remember to trust him to work in the way he wants to work. I need to remember that he has solutions that I can't imagine. I need to remember that he will always provide for us, in his perfect way. 

Don't you want to teach these adorable kids?
This baby was born prematurely at less than 2 pounds, but is doing well and just went home (topping the scales at over 5 lbs!)

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