Are there times in ministry when you feel dried up, just like the brook at Cherith? Times when you are mentally drained, spiritually disoriented, physically exhausted and literally limp through the activities of the day with animated form, retiring at night with no worthwhile purpose for tomorrow? If only the answer was, “Take two aspirin, get a little rest and tomorrow will be fine!” I once heard someone say that had Moses lived today and came down from the mountain, the tablets he would have been carrying would have been aspirin! During the dry seasons of ministry this little poem has been of encouragement to me.
Has the brook dried up in Cherith? Is there neither dew nor rain?
Are the cruse and cupboard empty? Does no oil or meal remain?
Get you up into the mountain, put your face between your knees,
>Lift your eyes with expectation toward the vast and stretching seas.
Send your faith‑‑you willing servant, seven times to scan the skies;
In the empty, brassy heavens see the little cloud arise.
Hear the sound of rain abundant‑‑’tis God’s pouring‑out begun;
Turn you to the greening valley, gird, oh, gird your loins….and run!
Sometimes ministry can wear us down but we must not forget that one aspect of the Holy Spirit’s ministry is renewal (Titus 3:5). Do you remember in Genesis 34‑35 when Jacob’s daughter, Dinah, was defiled by Shechem the Hivite, and his sons deceitfully talked all of the male Hivites in camp into being circumcised thinking that they would then intermarry and Shechem could have Dinah to be his bride? Then, while all the males were incapacitated by pain, Jacob’s sons entered into the camp and slew each and every one of them, including Shechem’s father, Hamor, the prince of the country. Oh, how this infuriated Jacob, causing him to fear that he and his entire household would be destroyed. He worried himself needlessly, draining himself of body’s strength and soundness of mind. But to renew his devotion, God said to Jacob in Gen. 35:1,“Arise, go up to Bethel and dwell there; and make an altar there to God, who appeared to you when you fled from the face of Esau your brother? God was saying to go back to that place where you once before renewed your devotion and dedication to Me. Go back to that place where you had sweet communion and rekindled your flame for fervency before an all‑knowing God.
There have been several “Bethels” in my life over the years, places where my spirit for ministry was renewed after the brook had dried up. I am sure that you have had a few such places yourself. Maybe today is the time to revisit one of the “Bethels” in your life. If so, find it and join with me in a dear puritan’s prayer for renewal in his life and ministry.
“Oh, my Savior, help me! I am so slow to learn, so prone to forget, so weak to climb; I am in the foothills when I should be on the heights; I am pained by my graceless heart, my prayerless days, my poverty of love, my sloth in the heavenly race, my sullied conscience, my wasted hours, my unspent opportunities.
I am blind while light shines around me; take the scales from my eyes, grind to dust the evil heart of unbelief. Make it my chiefest joy to study Thee, gaze on Thee, sit like Mary at Thy feet, lean like John on Thy breast, appeal like Peter to Thy love, count like Paul all things dung.
Give me increase and progress in grace so that there may be more decision in my character, more vigor in my purposes, more elevation in my life, more fervor in my devotion, more constancy in my zeal. As I have a position in the world, keep me from making the world my position; May I never seek in the creature what can be found only in the Creator.
Let not faith cease from seeking Thee until it vanishes into sight. Ride forth in me, Thou King of Kings and Lord of Lords, that I may live victoriously, and in victory attain my end. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!
A dear friend called not long ago and I always enjoy our conversations. Having served in ministry several years longer than I, he encouraged me with the following verse reminding me that as the body weakens the inner man is being renewed day by day as we walk with God. I am thankful for good friends and I am thankful for the renewing that comes from the precious Word of God, especially when the brook runs dry!
“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” II Cor. 4:16‑17