I just love how God comes through for those that need Him, even when sometimes it just doesn’t make sense deep in our hearts.
Yes, personally I fully believe and trust in Him – but being human I still have those moments when my flesh struggles to rise to the surface (Oh, The Grace And Ways Of God). And, being honest, I know you do too.
However, be encouraged! Be encouraged because the Zarephath widow in 1 Kings 17 will show you that even when times seem the absolute bleakest, God knows right where you are, and right what you need.
The chapter opens up with the great prophet Elijah informing wicked king Ahab that a severe drought is coming upon the land because the nation of Israel had once again turned away from the true living God and fallen into idolatry.
But God takes care of His children! He first instructs Elijah to head east of the Jordan and then provides for him food and water (v. 1-6).
After the brook dries up, God tells Elijah to head into Zarephath and speak to a widow who lives right smack in the middle of the Baal worshipers. He says she will provide for him food. Elijah does so, trusting that if God tells him to do something, God will provide a way for it to happen.
Elijah finds the widow and asks for a drink. As she goes to fetch it, he also asks for a piece of bread.
Here’s where it gets interesting.
The widow’s response to Elijah’s request for bread (v. 12 NIV- emphasis mine) is:
As surely as the LORD your God lives … I don’t have any bread – only a little oil in an 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.
Remember back at the start of the chapter the Lord warned Elijah that there was going to be a severe drought in the land because of their idolatry. Evidently this poor lady had been struggling so very much…
However somehow she knew that Elijah was a prophet, so when he speaks to her she listens. (Ah, I love it – God at work!)
Elijah tells her to go and prepare the meal, but first to make a small cake for him. Elijah tells her (v. 14):
For this is what the LORD, the God is 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 gives rain on the land.’
The blind faith of this woman is incredible! Remember the Bible doesn’t say that she already believed in the Lord (v. 12), but still she decides to trust the prophet’s words and do what he tells her. And, of course, her meager food supply never ran out.
But the story doesn’t end there.
After some time had passed, this same woman’s son becomes ill, and dies. She confronts Elijah, and says (v. 18):
What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?
Elijah is cut to the heart, so he goes and grabs her son, carries him upstairs and begins pleading with God. God brings breath back into the boy’s lungs.
And, it appears that through this last event the woman finally truly believes in the God of Heaven (v. 24 – emphasis mine):
Then the women said to Elijah, ‘Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the LORD from your mouth is the truth.’
God knew this pagan woman’s heart and loved her enough to show her two miracles, in order to show her that He is a God whose love is beyond all comprehension.
Reminds me of 2 Peter 3:9 (Amp):
The Lord does not delay and is not tardy or slow about what He promises, according to some people’s conception of slowness, but He is long-suffering (extraordinarily patient) toward you, not desiring that any should perish, but that all should turn to repentance.
Plus, think of how these events boosted Elijah’s faith!
Times are bleak in this world, whether we want to admit it or not. Are you going to trust that God will take care of you even when it seems as though solid ground is slipping away?