Preparation by Separation
Picture this Caribbean people, your mother 'get vex' and sends you to your room. As soon as you get inside, whooosh... a strong wind slams the door shut behind you!
When I first saw that joke on social media, my first response was to hold my breath in both horror and empathy. Then of course, I ’buss’ out laughing at what a hilarious childhood (in retrospect) most Caribbean children endured [enjoyed].
TIME OUT, I think that’s what it is called in foreign lands. To them it was a punishment, but to us, it was a gift from God himself. A miracle!
In this part of the world, this TIME OUT concept was really for our parents. It was to save themselves from tarring our behinds into next year.
In life we too go through periods of down time. These could be self-mandated, like vacations, quick get-a-ways, mental health breaks, or they could be forced periods of isolation, e.g. punishment.
There is another type of TIME OUT for us adults too. These are the ones which our Father lovingly gifts us. Call it what you may, a season, a valley, consecration etc., there are times when we just need to stop and sit this one out, so to speak.
Some years ago, I was in my TIME OUT period. For about 5 years I felt myself separated and put to ‘one-side’. In this period, it felt like most things weren’t working the way I thought they should. I watched as God placed a PURPOSE and desire in my heart that burned me to the core and then sent me to my room for an extended TIME OUT.
In the book of Kings, chapters 17 - 19, we see examples of TIME OUT in the prophet Elijah’s life account. When we first meet him in Chapter 17, he is in his first TIME OUT by the brook Chereth. However, this was no spa day, he was in a ‘kind of’ exile, hiding from King Ahab. He had just prophesied that there would be neither dew nor rain for three years in a country that depended on agriculture for their livelihood.
If we keep reading, we’ll see the provisions of God for this prophet in his season of separation.
1 Kings 17:4,6 ”You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.” The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.
However, the brook soon dries up and God sends him to another TIME OUT spot.
1 Kings 17:9 Rise up and go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there. I have just commanded a widow there to keep you fed.
In Zarephath, a whole set of miracles unfold. We see jars staying mealy and jugs staying oily *(v16). God is good indeed! When we continue reading, we also see the miracle of a son being raised from the dead. The miraculous hands of God is just all over Elijah’s life in his TIME OUT. It’s the same for us too.
This week, I invite you to join me to re-assess the periods of TIME OUTS in our lives and change the narrative. Let's re-look our posture and response during these times.
Instead of exclaiming in defeat, "Lord, what did I do to deserve this?" how about proclaiming in victory, "Lord, thank you for a blessing so undeserving!" It’s going to be a little (a lot) weird at first. However, once you understand and accept that ALL things are working for your good, because you love the Lord (Romans 8:28), then your perspective is bound to change. You'll soon realize that this season is your Preparation by Separation.