Lessons from Cherith
The Lord upholds all who fall, and raises up all who are bowed down. Psalm 145:14
We had come to Colorado after receiving the news – my mother-in-law’s constant bowel pain was the result of peritoneal cancer, a rare and deadly disease. She had never fully recovered from her bout with uterine cancer diagnosed just 18 months prior. Her markers were clear but this painful and never-ending pain in her stomach kept her sidelined. We will never know why it wasn’t discovered sooner but there are blessings even in that.
And so, after setting her up on hospice and determining that additional in-home care wouldn’t be sufficient and was well beyond what my father-in-law could afford, I offered to stay longer. As I said goodbye to my husband who needed to get back to San Diego for work, I was faced with my usual self-doubt. “I’m not good at this kind of thing” I said to myself. “I’m not a sweet, kind, compassionate person” I lamented. “I never know what to say in difficult times” I fretted.
I was scared to face day-to-day the woman I love as my own mother as she lay living out her last days. I was worried about how to be around my quiet father-in-law. I definitely was concerned how to handle all her friends who wanted to visit and needed a shoulder to cry on. And then I finally remembered God.
He has caused his wonders to be remembered; the Lord is gracious and compassionate. 5 He provides food for those who fear him; he remembers his covenant forever. Psalm 111: 4-5
I went for a walk and soaked in the beauty of the Colorado mountains and realized I didn’t need to have all those gifts. He has blessed me with so many other gifts that were needed – organizing, communication, and more. And what I now needed was to lean on Him for the rest of what was required.
My BSGs had just finished Shirley Giles Davis’ study book, God. Gifts. You. Which takes a deep dive into the list of the gifts given by the Holy Spirit. Coincidently she lives and works in Boulder, Colorado, just a few miles from where I now found myself needing the strength of God’s gifts. She reminded us that our gifts can be used for good and have their own pitfalls if used incorrectly. She showed us how God’s beautiful world can only function properly when we appreciate and honor the intricate ways all people’s gifts are used in harmony.
As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Psalms 55:16
And so, I called on God in humility. I thanked Him for the blessings of financial security that helped me be there. I listed in thankfulness the gifts of the Holy Spirit which have been endowed to me. And I prayerfully spoke the following:
“Lord, I cannot do this without you. I don’t have the right words for the right moments so I need the Holy Spirit to speak for me. I don’t have the strength for this gracious Father. I need you to keep me strong and lifted or I will fail. Only through your loving grace, using my gifts that I have been blessed with and you filling in the rest will I be able to glorify you and help Bev and all those around her. Please Lord speak in place of my words and be my strength.” Amen
His intervention was immediate as He surrounded me with His love and peace. All those worries and fears dissipated. And for the next three weeks the Holy Spirit held me up and spoke for me. He spoke to the friends who left Bev’s room crying in despair. He spoke to family members who handle grief differently than me. He spoke to Bev while I read her Psalms each day to comfort her. And He kept me from being tired and weak. I could wake at any hour with ease to administer medication, keep the house clean, and make meals for the ever changing number of people at the house. He provided, just as He promises, just as He always has.
You are my strength, I sing praises to you; you, God are my fortress, my God on whom I can rely. Psalms 59:17
My BSGs recently completed Priscilla Shirer’s study on Elijah. In her week 6 video she mentions the definition of faith as aligning our entire life with God’s 8,000 promises found in His Word. Our faith doesn’t need to be some mysterious feeling that is undefinable. It’s simple, when we believe God’s promises and live like we do then that is faith. That’s what Elijah did when he went, as directed by God, to Cherith — a lonely, dry, desolate place. God provided in ways only He can with food delivered by ravens and just enough water to get by for about two years. Elijah knew he couldn’t make it on his own. He needed God to survive. All his knowledge and gifts weren’t going to help him. God would need to fill in where he was lacking.
Friends, God promises over and over to provide for us. The Bible is filled with endless stories of His provision. Our own lives are testimonies to those provisions. Sometimes we just need to remember to humbly ask for Him to provide where we are weak and not gifted.
The morning my beloved Bev went to our Father I was blessed again to have God show me how much He had answered my prayer. I needed some alone time so I decided to take a shower. As I stood in the bathroom waiting for the water to warm up, I suddenly felt a huge weight press on me – like an anvil was placed on each shoulder. I cried out in surprise and then it was gone. I knew He was showing me what He had sheltered me from for the last few weeks. And although I am still experiencing the grief of Bev being gone from this earth, that heavy weight has never returned. I can thank God and the Holy Spirit for being my weight bearers. And I can thank God that He will provide in our weakest moments.
Where in your life to do you need to ask for God’s provision?
Where do you feel insufficient and weak? Ask Him today He will provide!