I remember the day I bought my 2020 planner.
I wanted one small enough to fit in my purse….
But big enough for detailed daily planning.
I thought I had so much to do.
If that wasn’t enough,
I wanted one that was cute.
Maybe with stickers.
I knew what I wanted.
But not what I needed.
I also remember the day I ordered my first-ever wall calendar,
displaying the whole year at once.
If I ever needed one like this,
2020 looked to be the year.
Not just to keep track of my own life but to keep track of Tim’s as well.
A new chapter.
A new church.
A new town.
I didn’t want to get lost in the shuffle.
Or lose Tim along the way.
I didn’t want to miss a Bible study.
Or forget a meeting.
Worse yet, I didn’t want to look like I couldn’t hold it all together.
How proud can a person be?
It’s now the first week of May.
My planner still sits on my desk.
My wall calendar hangs silently behind my writing room door.
Everything on it cancelled or postponed.
In so many ways,
time has stopped.
But in so many other ways,
it has boldly marched on.
I wonder if Elijah ever felt this way sitting by the brook.
God had sent him to this very place
just after asking him to prophecy a drought.
“Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan.
You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.”
I Kings 17:3-4
Did those words ever haunt Elijah after the rain stopped falling?
“You will drink from the brook.”
It’s hard to drink from a dry river bed.
And Elijah knew the whole kingdom would dry up soon.
God had told Elijah to do a lot of things,
But one thing God had not said yet was, “Move,”
so Elijah stayed put.
And it wasn’t until after the brook was completely dry that God spoke again.
“Go at once,” He finally said.
Not to a feast or even a well.
But to a widow.
A widow who Elijah found picking up sticks to prepare the last meal for her and her starving son.
If this were a scene in a movie,
I’m not sure if the characters would laugh or cry as they listened to each other’s stories.
I’m not sure if they would look up and question the One who had brought them together
or fall into each other’s arms,
confident the One who loved them both had made a way for them to meet and help each other survive.
But I am sure of this.
Their desperation bonded them quickly.
Elijah learned a lot while sitting by the brook.
He learned even more while staying with this woman and her son.
All along the way, it was very clear:
God was making a way.
And Elijah would soon become an unstoppable force,
able to stand up confidently to hundreds of prophets of Baal and display God’s power in front of them all.
Elijah learned about trust, patience, hope, and faith as he sat on the rocky bank of the quickly-drying brook.
And he learned about humility, compassion, and selflessness as he faced a woman in even more dire straits than he.
Maybe that’s what 2020 is all about.
Maybe it’s about throwing away planners and taking down calendars and surrendering our days to the One who made them all in the first place.
Maybe it’s about looking past our own needs to the needs of those around us
and then figuring out how we can help their jugs of oil and jars of flour last a little longer.
Two days ago, an Amish family from a town not far from here
lost five children
when their buggy was swept away in a fast-moving creek
that had overtaken the road they were crossing.
Five times the grief I faced when we lost our daughter.
Five times the grief I faced when we lost our son.
My heart has been completely wrecked by this news.
No matter what I’m doing,
this family weighs heavily on my heart.
I’ve relived my own pain over and over again,
as if I’m trying to remind myself they will make it.
I’ve prayed for angels to surround them day and night and protect their hearts and minds from doubting the One who loves them most of all.
I don’t know what else to do.
But I want to do more.
I want to hold this mom in my arms.
I want to tell her she is so loved.
I want to tell her she is not alone.
And most of all,
I want to tell her God is right there with her.
Maybe closer than He’s ever been to anyone since Job.
And He’s somehow making a way
where there seems to be no way.
Scripture promises in Psalm 34:18,
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.”
So I know He’s there.
And He’ll never leave.
Because I know her heart is broken.
And always will be.
If you feel like you’re sitting by a dried up brook these days –
wondering where God is –
maybe He’s sitting with an Amish family who needs every single ounce of Him.
And maybe, just maybe,
He’s preparing you to help someone tomorrow who’s picking up sticks in their own life today.
I love the lyrics of the popular worship song, “Way Maker,”
Even when I don’t see it, You’re working
Even when I don’t feel it, You’re working
I believe in this time of uncertainty worldwide,
He who has no need for a planner or wall calendar is making a way for you.
And for me.
And deep in my heart,
I have to believe He’s making a way for the Hochstetler family in Bath County, Kentucky.
I’ve lost my way at times in this quarantine,
but thank goodness,
I’ll never lost my way maker.
Because I need Him now more than ever.
Don’t we all?