As I look back on my life, I see lots of two steps forward, one back; one forward, three back. How about you? A straight arrow for the Lord? I certainly hope so, but I’m not holding my breath! If I had been, sure would have saved me from all kinds of dead-ends and wrong turns in my life.
This widow from Zarephath discovers that the God of Israel is calling her to help one of His prophets, Elijah. She notes that Yahweh is a compassionate God, answering her prayers for help, when her local deity Baal seems to be off on vacation having turned off his cell phone! Maybe he also neglected to put new batteries in his hearing aides.
Her oil and flour never run out, even though the famine and drought are in full swing with no end in sight. Her faith grows with each new blessing. So would ours. Who doesn’t love God’s blessings poured out on us? But then storm clouds are seen on the horizon. This unnamed woman’s son becomes deathly ill. He’s getting worse with each passing hour. ‘Worse and worse’, the Bible says. And then comes the end. He’s gone. Her only child. All those days of oil and flour seem meaningless to her now. All the food in the world can’t bring him back.
She turns to Elijah, railing at him in anger. ‘Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?'(v.18). She fears that God is inclined more to punishment than forgiveness, revenge more than love and mercy. In the past He’s provided well for them, but now her world has been shattered. Causes her to question the Lord.
How about you? Haven’t you had times when your faith seemed to melt away in the flames of trouble? Has God shown an unwelcome side of Himself? I don’t tend to blame God when life turns ugly. I figure that I deserve whatever comes my way. As if God has given up on me. This also stunts my faith in the Lord.
What to do? That’s the question. Elijah takes those heartaches and headaches to the Lord in prayer. Guess we should do the same? Wrap your hands around those troubles, go into a corner of a quiet room and pour yourself out to Him. When answers come, you’ll know it. But it may take awhile as if God is developing patience and trust in reluctant followers, like me! Wait. Hang in there. She says, ‘Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth(v.24). You’ll know too!
Prayer: We trust you, Lord, and wait for your answers to all we’re praying about. In Jesus’ name. Amen.