Have you ever experienced a season in your life where your bank account was running dry and money was tight? Maybe because of the loss of a job… Unexpected health bills… An emergency such as a car breaking down or the air conditioning going out in your house… What emotions did you experience? How did you make decisions about what the important things to invest your money in and those that could wait? After dealing with COVID-19 these past several months, many can relate all so well… Thus consider such as we look at the story from 1st Kings Chapter 17 about Elijah and the widow. Starting in verse 9,
“Then the word of the Lord came to him: “Go at once to Zarephath in the region of Sidon and stay there. I have directed a widow there to supply you with food.” 10 So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”
12 “As surely as the Lord your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little olive oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die.”
13 Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’”
15 She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. 16 For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.”
Upon reading this story, I first want to point out Elijah’s obedience as the Lord instructs him in the very beginning to go to a widow. He doesn’t doubt the Lord or question the source or the fact that he was told to go to a woman, which could be very looked down in that day and age. He simply obeys. Is obedience our first reaction when the Lord instructs us to do something for him, even if it takes us out of our comfort zone?
Then we see in verse 12, the widow answers Elijah’s question and is honest about her situation. She doesn’t sugarcoat it for it’s not just an issue of having an argument with someone on Facebook or a stubbed toe. In all actuality she is amidst a real predicament… Her and her son have no food and they are preparing to die.
I don’t know about you, but in my times of need, I haven’t necessarily wanted to be so bold and proclaim it from the rooftops. Rather I have often been embarrassed and afraid to ask, let alone shed light to the reality of my world as I wonder what people will think of me, if I’ll be made fun of, etc. So I wonder, how would I have responded to Elijah? Although in 2nd Corinthians Chapter 12, it says in our weakness HE is strong and HE is also “able to provide more than we could ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3)”… Trust me, I know it can be hard to be real and I am totally preaching to the choir here. But the truth is we don’t need to hide or be ashamed or worry because it is when we are humble and bring what we have (or lack thereof) to God, we can trust him to not leave us hanging. As it says in Matthew 6,
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?
28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Thus it is crucial in my life and in yours that we follow the widow’s example and the magnitude of her faith as she stood on the Lord’s promises and put them into action. She trusted even though she didn’t know all the details… The why or how, when or where… She knew her God, Lord over all the universe was bigger than a meal…her fears… and even death itself, therefore he would provide, even if it wasn’t in the way nor timing she expected.
I can personally attest to this truth with story after story, for the past year of my life, I have bounced from place to place, staying in hotels, a church Sunday school room, a homeless shelter, in the basement of a family’s home from my church, the hospital… Even though the road to get to each destination has often been long and bumpy, the Lord was and continues to be so faithful in providing every time, whether my need is small or great, gas money or the longing for a visit from a friend, a ride to a doctor’s appointment or a place to live. Along this journey, he has not only has he taught me a deeper level of trust and dependence than I knew existed (especially as contrary to my wishes in having a plan it is often in the 9th hour when the Lord comes through and a door would open) but he has so graciously given me the opportunity to meet and build relationships with countless incredible brothers and sisters in Christ whom have touched my life in more ways than they will ever realize that I would not have gotten to meet otherwise. I also have a whole new appreciation for the four letters “H-O-M-E” and while I am excited to move into my new “home” this week, I have come to realize my true home isn’t a house or apartment here on this Earth. And oh how I look even more forward to the day when I get to spend eternity in heaven with our Lord.
Nonetheless, with all that being said, the question remains, “Do you trust him?”. Notice I didn’t say, do you trust doctors or do you trust politicians? Or even do you trust a car, a house or even the things of this earth that God does provide… If you’ve lived for any length of time, especially in today’s world, you know our circumstances here on Earth will change…Our bodies will fail… The stock market will crash… The newest iPhone or clothing brand will go out of style… We will have to move… Although as it says in Isaiah 40:8, God and his word will never fail… He will fulfill his promises and will provide… “Do you trust HIM?”
If you know Jesus Christ and have already accepted him personally, I invite you to take inventory of your life… When you look at how you invest your time, your finances, your relationships, does that indicate in whom or what you place your trust? Spend time in prayer and the word answering these questions for yourself… Also feel free to comment below with a story of how you’ve seen the Lord provide.
Although if you don’t know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior, I want to extend an invitation as today can be the day that you put your trust in him. You are never too messed up or too far gone… According to Romans 3:23, we are all sinners and the consequences of sin is death and separation from God (Romans 6:23). Although because God loves you and I and wanted us to be able to have a relationship with him, he sent his son Jesus to earth, fully God yet fully human to die on the cross to take the penalty we deserve. Although he did not stay dead. He rose again 3 days later therefore those who believe and put their trust in him may also have eternal life. (John 3:16). Upon confessing and repenting (turning the other direction) of our sins, we are forgiven and in making this decision to follow Jesus, we also receive the gift of the Holy Spirit whom is a guide for us and our lives as we read and understand God’s word, talk to him in prayer and share the love of Jesus we have received with others.
If it is on your heart to make a decision or you would like to know more, I encourage you to reach out to a local church or parish so you may get your questions answered as well as support on your journey. Getting connected to the family of God is so important. If you do not have a local church family or aren’t sure where to start, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I would love to connect you to more resources wherever you are. Remember you are never alone. Praying for you always.
Much love, Alisha