I remember poignantly the first time I was faced with a challenge way beyond my resources. We were 16 years old and my best friend Teri proposed that we take lifesaving lessons together so that we could get summer jobs as lifeguards. I insisted this was impossible for me, because I was a terrible swimmer. But she would not be dissuaded! "Susan, I believe you can do it! Just Try! !" Against my better judgment I acquiesced. I remember to this day the feeling of having sucked so much water into my lungs by about the 8th lap in the pool that I was sure I was going to drown. What kept me going is this: Teri always swam in the Lane right next to mine. .. just a little ahead. I kept seeing her out of the corner of my eye and thinking, "if she can do it I can."
And I want to say dearly beloved that if God can get Susan and Brian Hillis through all the Storms of Life we have faced (seeing our son killed in front of our eyes, having one daughter live on the streets, an out of wedlock pregnancy, a child in jail, and the list could go on--but you get the stormy picture) then He can do it for you!
The storm arose and Jesus arose higher!!!!
Here is our secret:
Live 1st as God's Child and 2nd as Their Parent.
This simple yet profound message is what John the baptist came to reveal in Luke 1:16-17.
And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God, and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.
Note the two references to TURN. And somehow Elijah is supposed to teach us about this! So we go study his life and see this in Elijah's story: He is Fed to Feed and Raised to Raise.
First God feeds him every day as he hides by the brook. Them God sends him to a widow and orphan boy on the verge of starving so that God can feed them all. Do you catch that? He is fed by God and then walks others into feeding together from this same heavenly provision.
God also raises him from his comfortable solitude in nature's glory when that brook which was his only source of water dried up.
Then this same widow's son dies and she blames it on Elijah! He responds with words the Lord says to us all repeatedly: GIVE ME THE BOY!
But not so that Elijah can restore life. Rather so that he can pray the "breath back into the boy!"
Elijah was raised so that he can take this boy to the One who raises!!
Jesus sums this all up in John 15.
WE ARE LOVED TO LOVE
WE ARE LOVED TO LOVE
As the father has loved me so I have loved you. As I have loved you so you shall love them.
So dearly beloved today and every day may you live first as God's child....Fed, Raised, Loved.