From the President

The 26th chapter of Genesis begins with these words:

"Now there was a famine in the land … "

This particular famine occurred during Isaac’s time. He had a large family, a growing number of employees and livestock, and was concerned for all of them.

Few of us have endured or will endure a famine of this type. But we have experienced a famine of a different kind and some of us may be caught in the middle of it right now. We feel spiritually famished and we don’t know when, if ever, we’ll "eat" again.

The famine Isaac faced was probably caused by drought. Ours can be caused by a number of factors. Let me highlight four.

Coming off a high is one. We’ve had an adrenaline rush. We’ve been to the mountain top. Every four years, Young Life brings together all our staff and spouses for four intense days of spiritual refreshment, fun, community, inspiration and worship. It’s the All Staff Conference and it took place in early January of this year. By the time we return home, we’re emotionally spent. Many of you reading this article may not have been at the conference, but you may have experienced another high and now you too are feeling famished.

Illness is another. The Lord has tied our body, spirit and mind together. When one suffers, all suffer. We can become so tired and emotionally drained by illness that we have a difficult time praying or reading the Word. We not only hurt physically but are in the midst of a famine.

Stress can be a third. It’s a lot like an illness only we don’t identify it as quickly. Like Martha in Luke 10:38-42, we get too busy and distracted to spend time with Jesus. And we end up spiritually dry.

Another can be sin. Active or passive. Overt or covert. My good friend and former senior pastor, Bruce Larson, used to say that sin was like “stepping on the hose.” God wants to bless us; to feed us; to give us water to drink and we’re stepping on the hose.

So what did Isaac do when he was in the midst of a famine? He waited and the Lord spoke: "Stay in this land for a while and I will be with you and will bless you."

Isaac’s example helps us when we experience famine. If an adrenaline crash has left us famished, wait it out. Don’t dismiss what you’ve experienced as “something that just didn’t last.” It’s not supposed to. Our relationship with Christ is what lasts. Let’s stay and wait.

If it’s an illness, stay. Let our friends pray for us when we’re too overcome to say the words. Or just listen to some hymns or the Bible on CD. Give ourselves a break. Stay and let God bless us.

If it’s stress, recognize it. Don’t run away but find ways to “beat the stress.” Analyze the cause of the stress. Make adjustments. Stay and let God meet us there.

And if it’s sin, let’s stay … and confess our sins. Receive His forgiveness. Set up an accountability relationship with friends who can ask us tough questions. Let’s allow our famine to drive us to Christ.

"Now there was a famine in the life of ____ (insert your name here)."

In the midst of the famine, God met Isaac. He will meet us as well.