UNEARTHLY THING◽ ENCOURAGEMENT
Consider the Ravens
by Angela Dolbear
Occasionally, words and phrases I hear and read seem to be on repeat. They show up in different places, or teachings I hear. Coincidence? I think not. I try to pay attention when this happens. It’s usually means God is trying to get my attention, to teach me what I need to learn.
Ravens are the current topic on loop. Not the professional football team from Baltimore, of course. Sports have little to no bearing on my world. Ravens as in Edgar Allen Poe’s famous poem, and various ominous gothic decorations (my personal favorite!).
“Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap; they have no storeroom nor barn, and yet God feeds them; how much more valuable you are than the birds!” Jesus said, in Luke 12:24.
The whole portion of this quote sticks in my head, as I grapple with my fears and doubts. I have long-standing struggle with trust in God over my finances. Which makes no sense, since God has consistently provided for my husband and me. Every month.
While I was paying some of this month’s bills, my head pounded with a migraine over my stress about what to pay and what not to pay (yet), a Voice I know well, speaks in my soul and stops me in my tracks. Literally stops me from all activity.
“DO YOU QUESTION MY FAITHFULNESS?” God asked me.
Ouch of ouches in my spirit. Even as I write this now, tears collect at the corner of my eyes. The pain of the voice sucked the air out of my lungs.
How could I question my Lord’s faithfulness, when I have experienced nothing but His full and never-failing faithfulness, including all things financial.
I love having such a close relationship with God. It’s such a huge blessing. But my disobedience really hurts sometimes, especially when I come face to face with it.
I needed to change my way of thinking. To really stop, and consider the ravens.
Ravens seem like unlikely creatures to use as examples. They are dark, solitary, flesh-eating creatures. Yet, God uses them in multiple incidences in His Word. Such as:
Unlikely heroes: Noah sent a raven from the ark to test out the post-flood land to see if it was dry yet;
God’s Prophet Feeders: God used ravens to feed the Prophet Elijah in his distress ( peruse this interesting story in 1 Kings 17!); and
Portrait of God’s Great Provision: Jesus uses ravens as an example of His unfailing provision in the previously mentioned quote. It’s interesting to me that God uses these dark and ominous birds in His illustration, as opposed to say, a peaceful dove or a sweet sparrow. Ravens are birds of prey, and kin to the vulture! Side note: It shows me I have a lot of preconceived notions about birds and other things that are not true…but I digress.
Realizing the deepness and trueness of God’s faithfulness, reveals the lies that I believed about my perceived precarious state of provision, or lack thereof, fearing I could lose everything at any moment. So wrong.
This massive error shows me that I had not made God the ONE true King over everything in my life. I still thought I ruled over my finances. I repented of this mindset. Jesus needs to be Lord over all areas of my life. Amen, and amen.
I am so very grateful that God still loves me when I mess up, when I have things all wrong.
I received a beautiful picture of God’s love in my women’s Wednesday Night Bible study this week. We are going through Angie Smith’s Seamless Bible Study (it is such an excellent study…I highly recommend it to deepen your understanding of the Bible as one complete story).
The study brought us to Hosea 3:1, which is a beautiful illustration of God’s unconditional and ever-present love for His people. His love isn’t dependent on our obedience.
The whole book of Hosea is so good. One of my all-time favorite novels, Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers, sets the book of Hosea in the 1850’s, during the California Gold Rush period. So lovely. (I won’t lend my copy out, so please purchase your own copy to hoard, and also bless Ms. Rivers with book sales.)
My Lord is faithful – every day, all the time. Before I get out of bed every morning, I ask Him for strength to do the things He wants me to do, and to give me guidance. And every night, when I lie in bed and think back over the day, I am grateful for the strength that He provided. And the guidance. Prayers of thanksgiving are ever upon my lips. He fights my battle with disease every day.
I have lived with Scleroderma, an auto immune disease for over 20 years. It has tried to take me out of this world by attacking my lungs, heart, and brain, but God has healed me with every terrible episode. Even now, He strengthens my hands to type, my fingers are stiff with damaged skin and scar tissue cause by the disease. But my God is faithful.
And my God is faithful about His promises. He brought a group of people He called His own, the Israelites, through thousands of years of disobedience, conquests, and exile, to fulfill His promise of the Messiah, my Savior Jesus Christ, so me and everyone else who believes in Jesus could be saved. He saved everyone with His sacrifice of Himself (Another excellent insight from the Seamless study!)
So I can certainly, beyond the shadow of a doubt, trust my God to take care of every single one of my needs, no matter what it is.
Lord, may I never, ever, ever again question Your faithfulness.
I have a new appreciation for Ravens. Unfortunately, I have never seen one flying around my neighborhood in Nashville, Tennessee. I will consider how God used them, and fed them. And how much more He will use, feed, and care for me, one of His own kids.
A Simple Nightly or Anytime Prayer Exercise, for Kids and Adults
I learned this in a video from the Seamless Study. Every night when you pray, find:
One thing you are grateful for;
One thing you are sorry for; and
One thing you are asking for.
ANGELA DOLBEAR is the author of four novels, and several short stories. She also writes and records original music with her husband, Tim Dolbear. Please visit her author page on Amazon for more information.