This week marks the two-year anniversary of the day that my home flooded. It was a typical Thursday in November. I was at work when I received a call from my HOA that the river behind my building was rising… rapidly. An hour later, I received the news that the water had surpassed the two feet mark in my first floor condo unit. The damage was irreversible and set in motion a 21-month-long process of repair and renovation— in both my condo and my heart.
While feeling stuck in this extended season of the unknown, God was gracious enough to remind me that He is El Olam, the God of Eternity.
If you find yourself in a season of:
Then I believe that this particular name and character trait of The Lord will speak directly to your heart and your situation...
EL OLAM– God of Eternity
This name of God is used to describe His everlasting nature. In his book, 'All the Divine Names and Titles in the Bible,' Herbert Lockyer describes this name as being “a term describing what extends beyond our furthest vision, whether we look backward or forward till it is lost to sight.”
We see this name many times throughout The Bible:
The first time we see this name is filled with great significance for Abraham, and I believe for us today. In Genesis 21:33, we read–
“Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord, the Eternal God.”
By the time this is written, Abraham has been living as an unsettled nomad for many years. We read throughout Genesis chapters 11-22 that he has moved from Ur to Harran, from Harran to Shechem (in Canaan), from Shechem to Bethel, from Bethel to Egypt, from Egypt back to Bethel, from Bethel to Hebron, from Hebron to Gerar, and now to Beersheba. These cities span hundreds of miles and represent years of change and living in a constant state of unknown.
At one point along his journey, Abraham meets Abimelech, King of Gerar, and explains that “God had made him wander from his father’s household.” (Genesis 20:13)
The use of the word “wander” here is the same term that would have also been used in that time for “sheep going astray, for losing their way.” Even when The Lord had his hand in every step of Abraham’s journey, Abraham still struggled with feeling unanchored or rootless. Reaching Beersheba was supposed to be the climax of his pilgrimage, however soon after he arrived, the king tried to drive him out.
It’s in this state of weary hopelessness that we find Abraham in Genesis 21:33, and it is in this place that God reveals the new name of El Olam. Abraham was overwhelmed with the world’s insecurity, and God revealed that HE is divinely sufficient, HE is the God of Eternity. He has no beginning and He will never cease to be. In the middle of all Abraham’s uncertainty, he came face to face with an Everlasting God who was his true home.
What does the name El Olam mean for us today? After the flood, I was displaced for 21 months, which left me feeling like my own version of a modern wandering nomad! The name of El Olam reminded me time and time again that when I am in what feels like a lifetime of waiting, I am actually waiting on The Everlasting God. And in Him, I can find everlasting strength and everlasting vitality to face a continually changing world. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He is our one true home.
In light of all this, how should we be approaching The Eternal God? When we come to Him in prayer, we must first remember His character.
God is everlasting AND He is good-- meaning God can do anything AND He has our best interests in mind. He understands the full picture. His Kingdom priority is what is always best.
Jonathan Scott, the lead pastor at Forest Hill Church, recently said, “God always does what I would do if I knew what He knows and if I loved myself as much as He loves me! God doesn’t just say, ‘I have what you need.’ He says, ‘I AM what you need’.”
So, in a sense, prayer is more about surrender. It’s about getting myself on God’s page, rather than trying to get Him on mine. When Jesus teaches us how to pray in Matthew 6:5-14, He begins with– “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.”
As you go through life this week, I encourage you to begin every morning with this prayer:
“Lord, where is your Kingdom coming TODAY, and how can I be a part of it?”
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Kaley Rivera Thompson is an author, copywriter, public speaker, and musician. She serves as the Director of Communications and Donor Relations for the student sports-centric nonprofit she and her husband, Gage, run called Twelve. When she's not championing other women, cheering on the rising generation, writing or playing her guitar, Kaley loves to sip strong coffee, go on hikes, or take a day trip to the mountains with her family. She takes the most pride in being a mom to two little girls, Lina and Lili. You can follow her on instagram at @kriverathompson or find out more on her website at kriverathompson.com.