I had my hair cut today. No big deal. I went to the barber, the same guy who has cut my hair for four or five years, sat in the chair and put my glasses in my pocket. As he wrapped a cape around my shoulders he said something like: “Clean it up, off the ears and not too short on top?” To which I said: “Yes.” He went to work and we spent the next 30 minutes talking as he did what he does for a living. He does it well, having a steady business, with lots of regular customers.
But today something was different. When he was done he took the cape off and I got out of the chair to pay him. It was the first time that before taking off the cape he didn’t hand me a mirror and turn the chair so I could check out the haircut myself. I didn’t ask but he must have remembered what I told him last time he cut my hair, about two months ago.
That time, as he got the mirror out, I told him it wasn’t necessary. He was the barber and I trusted him to do his job well. I didn’t need to look at it for myself.
Later in the day while I was re-reading 1 Kings 19, in preparation to preach in a few weeks, I remembered this morning’s experience at the barber. In 1 Kings 19 Elijah has just seen God do some pretty remarkable things. And as a consequence of the power God has displayed Elijah is, somewhat surprisningly, running for his very life. He is so desperate that he asks God to take his life. It appears that for the moment Elijah has lost track of who God is and what God can do.
Sometimes we have the same thoughts that may be plaguing Elijah. We are in a bad spot, a time of deep trouble, and we forget who God is, or where He is, or what He has promised to do. Our trust in God wavers.
In times of distress we want God to show up…right now!
In Deuteronomy 31 Moses speaks to the Hebrew people. They have been wandering in the desert for 40 years and he is preparing them to be led by Joshua as they enter the Promised Land. In verse 6 Moses says:
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
Moses reminds the people of the same thing that we need to remember today, particularly in our times of suffering, our times of distress. And that is that there is never a time when God is absent from His people.
God is a God who is unfailing in every respect. He has always kept His word, He always keeps His word, and He will always keep His word.
And His word is something that we can always trust, no matter what the circumstances are that surround us. Amen.
Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.