Lent Day 18: Hidden Ministry
1 Kings 17:2-4
2 And the word of the Lord came to him: 3 “Depart from here and turn eastward and hide yourself by the brook Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. 4 You shall drink from the brook, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.”
In the rhythms of our Christian lives there are times of visibility and times of hiddenness. Moses was in the wilderness for 40 years before he appears for public ministry. Joseph was hidden for possibly 12 years in prison before moving to the palace. John the Baptist was in the wilderness until his public ministry, and Jesus was hidden for approximately 30 years before his public ministry. Hiddenness does not mean hopeless or useless. With God it is often a time of refreshment and preparation for his divine purposes.
Just like Elijah there are times of visibility before the masses and other times of hiddenness from the masses, but a blessing to the marginalized, as is the case with the widow at Zarephath. This hiddenness for Elijah was healing for him and this family.
With God public and private ministry are all the same. It all is dependent on his power. And he alone determines the preparation and then the practical execution of that power.
It is during this time, particularly this Lenten season, when we, like Elijah, lean into God for our provisions, protection and power to re-establish a new purpose for us.
It is a season that leads to a new way of life. But as we approach this new life it comes with passion, suffering, death, denial and repentance. As experienced by the fallen son and the widow (1 Kings 17).
However, in the midst of this “deathliness” comes transformed life. When we submit ourselves to the “limitations” of God’s provisions, like Elijah did with water from a brook and food from ravens. We are able to experience his power in our privations.
“Lent is a time to think about another diet, another nourishment, another loyalty.” This power does not come from a king, but The King. We do not fulfill the purposes of God by the systems and power of men. Nor do we gain life if we buy into the world’s view of things.
As Brueggemann states, “Life has to do with sons given back, with daughters restored, with energy and courage granted, with hope and joy and well-being made new for us. Life is promised to the ones who eat thin and pray hard. Life is given by God. Power is granted to do what the king can never do.”
“In this season of Lent, teach us again the source of true power for life. Feed us with spiritual food that will fill us with energy, courage, freedom, and authority that we may be your agents of healing in the world. Amen.”
Brueggemann, Walter. A Way Other Than Our Own: Devotions for Lent. Kentucky: Westminster John Know Press, 2017.