It is amazing how little misunderstandings can cause such an uproar…
You know, things like-
- Saying the word “Crab!” as innocent verbiage for frustration and your mother thinks that you said, “Crap!” and because that is a bad word in your house you get punished (apparently I am still struggling with that one from my younger years and am still very thankful I didn’t say “Ship”)
- Not realizing that staying in the yard meant you couldn’t include the whole 200+ acres of farm it was connected to…
- Being in a room that was being vandalized by a food fight and you watched but didn’t participate and the teacher walked in only to take names and report everyone to the principal… (sweaty palms, heart racing fast, stomach in throat… are you feeling it with me here?)
- Racing to get a sick child for a single mom friend who has you as an emergency pick up person on the school list only to run a yellow light which turned red before your back tires left the white line and a policeman just happens to be right there waiting …
- Hearing your 4-year-old singing a song, “Satan Love….. whoa, whoa….Satan Love”… and only after freaking out and tracing your steps to find out where you were failing as a parent, finding out that she was only singing “Tainted Love”
Or maybe little misunderstandings like-
- Your dog barking at night and you think he needs to go out and you get angry only to find out the next morning that he was barking at the bad guys who broke into your car
- (Before the wonderful invention of iTunes and the internet) staying up for 24 hours straight playing cards and listening to the radio so you can share a song that you love with a friend because she has never heard it …giving up and exhausted … heading for bed and hearing your friend sing the song in the hallway…. just singing the wrong lyrics …and thought it was a totally different title..I’ve been known to sing a few wrong lyrics myself (four hundred children and a crop of oatmeal… you picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille) so that one ended with a good laugh.
Or maybe those misunderstandings that are better left to be misunderstood, like…..
- Hearing your 4-year-old sing, “Life is good… Tie it like a sweater (eternal life is better)” and letting her continue because it is so cute…
- Going ahead and eating the profits for the fundraiser sales and just giving the candy bar to that senior adult who thanked you for the nice gift
- After the third time trying to pronounce your last name, finally just letting the other person spell it Paul instead of Hall (it happens so much more than you know)
Being misunderstood stinks… oh, I guess there are times that you might be thankful that you were misunderstood, but for the most part, it stinks. Jumping to conclusions, making rash judgment calls, thinking that someone feels a certain way when you really don’t know what they are feeling at all…….When I do the misunderstanding, I usually end up eating crow (I really never say this little eating crow idiom but talking about ravens… I felt it was totally appropriate) When others misunderstand me, I usually end up hurt…
I taught the kids this morning about Elijah.. God told him to tell the king there would be no rain and after that he was to go hang out by a brook and the ravens would feed him and the water would keep him from being thirsty. Elijah did what he was told. Something that I had never really given thought to before was the fact that the water dried up, but yet it was where God had sent him. So did Elijah misunderstand God? Was he really not supposed to go there? Would God just let him go hungry and thirsty if he was doing what God had told him to do? Did God not care about him any more? Though the Bible doesn’t say it, as he watched the waters evaporate daily during the drought, I would imagine that Elijah may have wrestled with a few of these questions.
But here is the part that struck me…. again the Bible doesn’t say what Elijah was thinking but it does say what he did… he did still obey God… He didn’t misunderstand God’s intentions… He never blamed God for his situation. How easy it would have been to misunderstand God’s hand in the situation… there was more to the story and though Elijah didn’t know what it was at the time, he trusted that God meant what he said when he said that he loved us and he would provide. ..
Elijah got a much needed vacation during that time….. plenty of food, water and time with God but as the water dried up and the ravens stopped grocery shopping…God eventually told Elijah where to go… it was during that trip that others got to see some miracles… If Elijah had misunderstood God’s intentions and given up then other lives would have been lost…
We may not be sitting at a creek waiting for ravens to bring us food. We may not be at a dried up creek wondering where to go, but we may be misunderstanding God’s love for us in the situation that we are in….maybe someone is thinking that he can’t be worthy of a new path… that the water dried up for a reason and that reason is because God doesn’t care… listen carefully, you may just hear God telling you the direction to home where you will see miracles… I believe God hurts when we misunderstand and give up… didn’t say it was easy… hang in there.
1 Kings 17
2 Then the Lord said to Elijah, 3 “Go to the east and hide by Kerith Brook, near where it enters the Jordan River. 4 Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you, for I have commanded them to bring you food.”
5 So Elijah did as the Lord told him and camped beside Kerith Brook, east of the Jordan. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat each morning and evening, and he drank from the brook. 7 But after a while the brook dried up, for there was no rainfall anywhere in the land.
The Widow at Zarephath
8 Then the Lord said to Elijah, 9 “Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.”
10 So he went to Zarephath. As he arrived at the gates of the village, he saw a widow gathering sticks, and he asked her, “Would you please bring me a little water in a cup?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called to her, “Bring me a bite of bread, too.”
12 But she said, “I swear by the Lord your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.”
13 But Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!”
15 So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her son continued to eat for many days. 16 There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah.