She stared at the ceiling …
as her eyes adjusted to the dim light of the rising sun piercing through the window.
It would be another dry, rainless day.
She got out of bed and rushed to the room where the two jars laid on the floor.
She looked at them, and wondered whether this would be the day when provision would finally cease.
Reluctantly, she reached into the first jar of clay, and smiled when the oily texture touched her fingers. She brought them to her mouth, closing her eyes, while savoring the best oil she had ever tasted.
With the other, trembling hand, she reached for the second jar, where an abundance of soft flour greeted her touch.
She closed her eyes.
The word of the prophet would not fail.
‘The bowl of flour shall not be exhausted, nor shall the jar of oil be empty, until the day that the LORD sends rain on the face of the earth. (1 Kings 17:14 NASB)
In the seventeenth chapter of 1 Kings, we meet this most intriguing character, placed in a land permeated by idolatry and sin.
We don’t know her name, but her story is forever etched in the history of Israel as one of the first times we witness God’s grace touch a gentile in a miraculous way.
Not only did the widow who lodged Elijah experience God’s supernatural provision, but also her son became the first person chosen by God to resurrect from the dead (1 Kings 17:17-24).
In a small, rundown home, where Baal was once worshipped and lives were broken, God’s mercy came down, changing the hearts and the lives of a poor mom and her boy.
This is only one of the stories …
in Scriptures where God used a heathen to bless one of His own. Throughout Scriptures, we see God use Israel’s enemies to bring forth blessings, gentiles to accomplish His will, and times of great distress to draw His people closer to Him.
Indeed, this truth, engraved throughout scriptures and translated in one of the Apostle Paul’s most inspired messages to the church, should bring us great perspective when we face difficulties and enemies… or when life’s circumstances do not make sense:
And we know that God CAUSES ALL THINGS to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. (Romans 8:28 NASB – emphasis mine)
We all have found ourselves in situations when we honestly believe that we have everything in our hands to make things work out, and yet, we witness our castles fall apart.
Whether it is the marriage that struggles, the child that rebels, the tragedy that strikes, the job that ends, the dream that is shattered… we shake our heads, perplexed, wondering…
What did I do to deserve this?
In the aftermath of disappointment and pain, some of us give up.
Some of us take that last bit of flour and oil, turn our backs to the prophet, and bake that last bread, our last material resource, leaning on our own understanding of the situation before us… choosing to move forward without God.
We will never know what was waiting for us on the other side of the valley.
Because we chose to give in… or give up.
That was not the case for the widow in Sidon.
She did not know Israel’s God.
But the numerous accounts of the One who opened the Red Sea and delivered the giants of the land into Israel’s hands had certainly reached her ears… thus she chose to obey Him and open her heart to become a recipient of His grace.
Because she did, she witnessed “the bowl of flour not exhaust nor the jar of oil become empty, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke through Elijah.” (1 Kings 17:16)
God causes ALL THINGS
to work together for good to those
who love Him and say YES to His purpose …
Are all doors closing?
Perhaps you are heading to divorce court?
Is your child breaking your heart?
Or are you waiting for the healing to come?
Are your enemies oppressing you?
Or has the death of a loved one robbed you of all desire to live?
Whatever your empty bowl is today, hear the voice of the prophet to the widow – that same voice calls you to obey, even if it does not make sense.
For “all things” can only work together for your good, and according to His perfect purpose for your life, if you deliberately make the choice to not lean on your own understanding, but rather, reach out into that empty bowl, by faith… believing that the One who spoke the stars into existence is able to give you mercy, protection, provision, healing and grace… In HIS time and once again.
And without faith it is impossible to please Him,
for he who comes to God must believe that He is
and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
How is God encouraging you today?