1 Kings 17:8-24
“But Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son.” 1 Kings 17:13
Difficult situations and circumstances are times to experience the mysterious ways of God and to grow our faith in God’s providence and power and to change our mindsets about scarcity. As we do so, our struggles become the crucibles to test the authenticity of our faith and to purify it like gold.1 Fear is our human response to any threat to our well being. However, it can be the “devil’s playground” in our minds when we live without without any consciousness of God’s presence. Hence, we have many exhortations, “don’t be afraid!” in the bible.
Elijah was told by God that a widow in Zarephath will provide for him after the Brook Cherith dried up during the famine. However, the widow told him that she had only a handful of flour and a little oil with which she was preparing some bread to eat with her son as their last meal. But Elijah told her not to be afraid and assured her that her bin of flour will not be used up nor her jar of oil run dry till the end of the famine. By faith, in the face of scarcity and death, the widow gave Elijah a little piece of bread and experienced the miracle of God’s providence.
However, her faith was then more severely tested when her son fell seriously ill and died. She felt that the death of her son was God’s punishment for her sins. But Elijah cried out to God on her behalf and raised the boy from death. To the widow this proved that Elijah was a man of God and that the Lord truly spoke through him.2 This story was cited by Jesus as an example of God’s mysterious ways – it was by God’s grace that she was chosen to provide for Elijah.
Jesus was only able to perform a few miracles in Nazareth because of the unbelief of the people.3 They had expressed skepticism of Jesus’ ministry and Jesus reminded them that Elijah was not sent to any of the needy widows in Israel but to the widow of Zarephath in Sidon who was a foreigner.4 God’s surprising ways are always unexpected, unpredictable and unimaginable.
Love is the energy that heals. Fear and doubts are obstacles to the flow of healing love. It is also energy draining to practice the healing touch. Jesus was on the way to heal Jairus’ daughter and felt the healing power going out from him when a woman with a bleeding disorder touched him. However, he told the woman that it was her faith that healed her. The woman’s testimony was a powerful booster for Jesus who then went on to raise Jairus’ daughter from the dead.5
Jesus came to inaugurate the Kingdom of God here on earth – a kingdom of abundance and not a scarcity of love. Times of scarcity are times to grow our faith. With Jesus as our Shepherd of Love, we can live by faith that we will lack nothing. Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us today our daily bread” so that we will remember that it is God who gives us everything we need. God is God of the powerless and a Father to the fatherless and defender of the widows.6 When we are the channels of God’s mercy and grace, God’s power and providence are limitless.
When we seek a problem and pain free life we will only get a false peace of mind. In our volatile world, we can expect to have problems but we can choose to use them to search our hearts and to draw closer to God. Our most important task is to ask and live out the right questions in our problems rather than to seek superficial answers to the problems of life. It is not why bad things happen to good people but how we are to grow our faith as we see God transforming our suffering into blessings. When we reflect on the immensity of God that is revealed in all creation, we will be filled with the awesome truth of how insignificant and small we are and yet precious in the sight of God.
“By faith we see the hand of God
In the light of creation’s grand design
In the lives of those who prove His faithfulness
Who walk by faith and not by sight”7
Lord, help me to see my problems as windows into Your amazing and awesome grace.
- How do my fears of not having enough and not being enough keep me from being who God wants me to be and what God wants me to do?
- What are the insecurities and limitations in my life that I need to surrender to God?
- How can I grow my faith in trying times?
Song of Praise:
- 1 Peter 1:7
- 1 Kings 17:8-24
- Matthew 13:38
- Luke 4:24
- Luke 8:40-56
- Psalms 68:5
- By Faith, Keith Getty