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.”
I Kings 17:12 (NIV)
In 1 Kings 17:8, God sent Elijah to Zarephath. He told him a widow would be there to provide for him. When Elijah arrives he saw the widow gathering sticks and asked her to bring him some water and he also asked for a piece of bread.
It’s in the next few verses, the widow tells Elijah that she did not have bread and that in fact, those sticks were to make something for her and her son in preparation to die. You see listening to these words it sounds like a woman who was overwhelmed with life and had given up. She was in the midst of a famine and she could see no way out. She was ready for it to be over, to just die. She had nothing else left, seems as though she had nothing to live for. She was preparing to die.
And then, God steps in. In verses 13-14 Elijah tells 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. 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.’” (I Kings 17:13-14)
The bible doesn’t give us additional commentary here, but what we do see is the widow’s obedience to God’s word. We see her faith in action. It’s as if the life she was about to throw away has now been given new meaning, new purpose. She gets busy doing as thus says the Lord. This is what we need to do when we feel like throwing in the towel. We need to get busy obeying God’s word. We don’t need to give up. It’s like the old saying, “When life gives us lemons, make lemonade.” We need to recognize it’s the enemy that comes to steal, kill, and destroy. God’s plan for our life is to prosper us, not to harm us (Jeremiah 29:11) God gave us life, abundant life and we need to live it to the fullest until He calls us home. Until He is finished with us. Let’s take a lesson from the widow of Zarephath and get busy living and not dying. God will equip us and give us the strength to endure any “lemons” that life throws our way.
Father, help us to rely on You always. We know at times life may hand us “lemons”, but Father Your Word tells us to cast our cares (our anxieties) on You, for it is You who cares for us. It is You who will prosper us and not harm us. Help us to remain focused, faithful, and obedient to Your Word and the call You have placed on our lives.
In Jesus name, Amen!
Cynthia J. McCoy
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