Dear Emmaus Family and Friends
One of the many blessings working and serving at Emmaus is starting each morning with staff in a devotional capacity which includes combinations of worship, prayer, and the reading of scripture (and associated reflections). Last week a member of staff reflected on the COVID-19 challenges of 2020 through the lens of the prophet Elijah, documented in 1 King’s 17. After challenging the constant wrongdoing of King Ahab, Elijah sought refuge at a brook to the east of the Jordan River. Consistent with God’s provision and instruction, for some time he safely drank from the waters of the brook while being fed meat and bread by ravens.
This sounds like quite a comfortable arrangement for Elijah during this particular season! Although I am not sure how many of you have been fed by ravens, this level of provision and stability experienced by Elijah at that time would generally represent most of our lives as of February 2020 (pre COVID-19).
However, this period of provision and stability for Elijah came to an end after a lengthy period of drought - the brook dried up and Elijah’s circumstances changed for the worse. No doubt this would have involved a time of hardship and challenge before God intervened with further instructions for Elijah to seek out a widow and her son in Zarephath where his essential needs will once again be met. Ultimately we see God provide for Elijah and the widows needs through a jar of flour and jug of oil that never emptied despite being continually used to prepare food in abundance.
For many of us this year, COVID-19 represented a ‘brook drying up’ event which has seen circumstances change from a place of security to a place of uncertainly. However, as with Elijah, God is forever loving and faithful and will, in His timing, lead us into our own ‘Zarephath’ (whatever form that may take in your circumstances). In Deuteronomy 31:8 we are reminded of this promise God makes to us “It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
As the 2020 school year draws to a close (a year like no other!) and with Christmas approaching, I want to remind and encourage you of the above promise knowing that irrespective of your circumstances this year, you are unconditionally loved by a God who cares and wants to be in relationship with you.
In closing, I would also like to say thank-you and farewell to a number of staff leaving at the end of this year (or experiencing a significant change in role); and a special welcome to a significant number of new staff commencing in 2021 in response to continuing growth of our South Plympton and Brooklyn Park campuses and the Early Learning Centre.