When the brook at Kerith dried up, Elijah found himself in the middle of the desert, in the middle of a 3-1/2 year drought, in the middle of a 3-1/2 year famine, #1 on the state’s most wanted list, hiding from a queen who was killing men just like him all over the region, and without anything to drink.
As scared as he might have been, Elijah was living right in the middle of his own answered prayer.
Elijah had prayed that it would not rain. He had agonized over the sin of God’s people for so long that he prayed for God to punish his people, to bring them to repentance. James says Elijah prayed earnestly that it might not rain. And as a result of his own prayers, here was Elijah, about to die in the desert.
Has that ever happened to you?
“Lord, make me a godly man. Please make me a woman after your own heart.” But in your mind, you’re thinking, “Don’t let it hurt.”
“God, make me stable and longsuffering and gracious and patient. But don’t take away any of my luxuries.”
“Lord, please make me strong. Increase my faith. But don’t let me suffer.”
Maturity in faith requires sacrifice and suffering. Growing in God is all about suffering. Physical pain. Emotional pain. How else would we ever learn to live by faith?
What a fantastic kick-off to VBS last night with the opening presentation of “Elijah: On Fire for the Lord” and the big dinner. Of course, the entire 45-minute production began with Elijah’s dramatic announcement that there would be no rain or dew at the word of the Lord and centered on the subsequent drought and famine. And at the exact point Mason Scott (Elisha, the narrator) was detailing to the audience the impact of the drought, how there would be “no rain, not one single deop of moisture anywhere in the entire land,” there came a huge cloudburst right on top of the Legacy church building. The rain came in torrents, pounding the metal roof above our heads just as Mason was saying “no rain anywhere.”
It was a beautiful moment, one that was appreciated by the entire cast and every member of the audience. It reminds us that as much as we plan and prepare and go over and over again every little tiny detail of OUR plans, they’re all at the mercy of GOD’s plans.
There are 38 days left until football season. And our football player today is one of the best college running backs ever. He didn’t pan out so well in the NFL. But George Rogers was amazing at South Carolina from 1977-80. He was a two-time All-America back who rushed for over a hundred yards in 27 of his 46 career games, including the last 22 in a row. With a deadly combination of power and speed, he won the Heisman Trophy in 1980 by leading the nation in rushing in with 1,894 yards.
Rogers was the overall number one pick of the New Orleans Saints in 1980. But he only lasted four years there and another three with the Redskins before he was done. He did win a ring with the ‘Skins in Super Bowl XXII. But George Rogers makes the list because of what he did as a Gamecock. Next to Herschel Walker, in my lifetime, I can’t think of a better running back in the SEC.
Catching up from yesterday, #39 in my countdown to football season is Dolphins fullback Larry Csonka. He was Miami’s top pick out of Syracuse in 1968 and he’s actually still the Dolphins’ all-time leading rusher with 6,737 yards. He averaged 4.5 bruising yards per carry in Miami, ballooning that average to 6.7 yards per carry in three Super Bowls. Csonka won the MVP award in Super Bowl VIII with 145 yards and two touchdowns.
Csonka wound up his career with the Memphis Southmen of the old World Football League and the New York Giants.
Jesse Villareal and Karrie Graves and several other of our singles at Legacy are heading down to Marble Falls on August 2 to help clean out houses and clean up debris left over from the flooding of last month. What a wonderful gesture! I don’t know if they’re going to have four or five total make the trip or 40 or 50. They’re just putting it together. But what a wonderful way to show our love and concern for our brothers and sisters in Christ there in that terrific congregation in that beautiful city. I’m so grateful for Jesse and Karrie and for their hearts of love and service to God’s people in the Kingdom. Greg Neill and the folks at the Marble Falls Church will house and feed our singles (and anyone else who wants to take the trip) while they work in the community there for those three days. And then they’ll worship with the Marble Falls congregation Sunday morning.
Thank you. May we all be encouraged by the love of Christ and by the power of our God and his grace as it’s displayed in the lives of our people here.