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One thing God loves to do is show off. I know this is hard to fathom, but God loves to display His power and glory to make a point that you’ll never forget. In 1 Kings 18, God marks the memory of His people by consuming a sacrifice by fire.
Some of you may know the story of how Elijah challenged 400 prophets of Baal. This was a showdown between Baal and the God of Elijah during a severe drought in the land. Elijah had declared a drought over the land, and it was so bad that people were eating their children to live.
During this time, water was as precious as gold. Elijah prepared his sacrifice and asked for 12 large jars of water to be poured out on the altar. You have to wonder where Elijah stored 12 large jars of water when everyone else had no water. He was pouring out the most precious commodity of that time on God.
Elijah poured out what was most valuable on the altar. God responded immediately by consuming the water and the sacrifice by fire: “Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench. When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, 'The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God!'” (vv. 38-39, NIV).
The response didn’t stop with the sacrifice: “And Elijah said to Ahab, ‘Go, eat and drink, for there is the sound of a heavy rain.” (v. 41). The sacrifice broke the drought over the land.
If you’re struggling with a drought in your life—it could be a famine of the Word of God or a lack of finances, or maybe a famine for the presence of God—take note of Elijah’s action. Elijah took what was most valuable in his day and poured it out on God.
God proved Himself faithful by pouring rain on the land. When you show your utter dependence on Him by giving Him what’s most valuable to you—your time or your money—God will respond.
We’ve sowed numerous times into the work of God when we didn’t have it. We’ve seen God prove Himself over and over again with an unexpected $15,000 or $60,000 to $70,000 in scholarships and grants that our son didn’t even apply for or in new clients that came to me without my having to market myself.
We had a famine of God's presence where we were living and decided to move to Kansas City. Before we moved, my husband, Jerome, wanted me to move ahead of the family. We were moving to help build World Revival Church.
Jerome opted to stay in Columbia, Mo., to get the house ready to sell. “It will be easier for you to find a job,” he said.
He was right, because I was offered several positions. Of course, that meant I had to leave my 1-year-old and 4-year-old sons. I remember praying and crying out to God about the anguish of leaving them.
Then a Scripture came to my mind: “'Truly I tell you,' Jesus said to them, 'no one who has left home or wife or brothers or sisters or parents or children for the sake of the kingdom of God will fail to receive many times as much in this age, and in the age to come eternal life'” (Luke 18:29-30).
I remember weeping as I read that Scripture over and over again. OK, it wasn’t like I was one of those missionaries I’ve read about who left their kids in another country so they could preach the gospel in a dangerous area. I was just moving 1 1/2 hours from my kids and husband.
But I remember Jerome and I praying about this and laying it before God. I believed that for that season of sacrifice, my children would reap. I prayed they wouldn’t have to see a therapist when they turned 30 about that season when I left. I felt like a bad mom, but I got to see them Friday through Sunday.
Now we’ve lived in Kansas City for 14 years, and we’ve seen tremendous blessings. I poured out being with my babies for a few months for the sake of the kingdom. And God has poured the blessing of being a family that serves God together back on us. That temporary sacrifice broke the famine of His presence in our family.
My sons don’t even remember my being gone for those three months when I lived in Kansas City on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and then drove back to Columbia to be with them on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. (Please know that I don't recommend leaving your children to follow God. My husband prayed and sought counsel for this decision.)
I proved God to my own hurt, and He proved Himself over and over and over again. God will not be outdone in sacrifice. Prove Him by pouring out on Him, and He will respond to you.
Leilani Haywood is the editor of SpiritLed Woman and a frequent contributor to Charisma. She is an award-winning writer who has been published in The Kansas City Star, Focus on the Family, Metrovoice Newspaper and many other publications