Luhansk, Ukraine; March 2001
Eighteen hours aboard the Ukrainian Railway brought us to the far eastern border of Ukraine. The next important part of our journey was to find a driver we could trust and a place to stay. Our facilitator explained that we were not in a safe situation. She actually said to us, “Do not make eye contact with anyone, and do not speak a word to each other or anyone; you cannot let anyone know you are American. Stay here! I need to go find a driver.” With that, she left us outside the train station…alone. Lord, please provide.
In 1 Kings 17, we see two incredible examples of God being Elijah’s provision in the most unlikely ways, in what looked like impossibility.
“Leave here, turn eastward, and hide yourself by the Brook of Cherith, East of the Jordan. You are to drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.”1 Kings 17:3-4, 6 ESV
Ravens? I read these birds are famous for their voracious appetite and insatiable greed, often stealing food from other birds or animals. Only God could arrange for these birds to provide for Elijah to bring him meals for what could have been a year. Reflect on that; God provided a miracle in a way that only He could arrange.
“Then the word of the LORD came to him: ‘Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon, and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.'”
“‘As surely as the LORD your God lives,’ she replied, ‘I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.’”1 Kings 17:8-9, 12 NIV
A widow, in the time of a severe drought? She would have been the least likely to have extra provisions. In fact, did you catch that last part? She is so lacking; she is preparing to die.
“For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD sends rain on the land.’”1 Kings 17:14 NIV
After what felt like an hour, our facilitator returned in a car driven by, what we learned later, a former member of the military, who was built like a defensive lineman. Our facilitator quickly exited the passenger side of the car, and in her best ventriloquist impersonation told us, “Do not speak, and get in the car.” Minds racing, my husband and I, huddled in the back seat, tried to make sense of the intense conversation transpiring between our driver and our facilitator. Knowing very, very little Russian we failed to understand what was happening, as the driver pulled the car off the side of the road and put the car in park. That was the moment I noticed a small note, located on the stick shift knob, that said, “In God I trust.” My eyes went from those words to the driver’s eyes; they were filled with tears. This man was pledging his complete service to us for anything we needed. God’s provision for us, in our time of need, was a good man, a Godly man, who had a heart for orphans and deeply desired to help us find our child(ren).
God’s provision through him and his wife exceeded our imagination for the next 10 days. After searching for hours for a place to stay and finding nothing available, he opened his home to us. He and his family insisted we stay in their only bedroom, while they huddled into their small Living Room. His wife went to the market and cooked for us daily. He was our faithful driver every day and, some days, was at our service for over 10 hours. In a way only God could have arranged, they were our provision, and we became theirs, helping them overcome the financial drought they were in. In fact, before we could continue our drive that day we met him, we had to find gas…our driver…on his last gallon of gas. God allowed us to make sure his tank did not run out of gas and their kitchen didn’t run out of food. God, the ultimate Provider!