This has been one of those weeks when we hear news that several church members are now going through hard seasons. Hard seasons happen to all of us, and we rarely see them coming.
There is a great story in I Kings 17 about a woman in a dark and scary season of life. The nation is going through a famine, and everyone is feeling the effects of this plight. The prophet of God, Elijah, has run out of food and water and so God directs him to go to Zarephath and a find a widow there who will feed him. He finds the woman gathering sticks for a fire at the edge of town and he requests her help. We know from scripture this widow was wealthy enough to own a home, but now the famine is even impacting those of means. No one is immune from famine, and no one is feeling much hope.
I have always liked this story because the woman holds nothing back. When asked to help the prophet, her answer is deeply honest. “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” (1 Kings 17:12 NIV). I have always read this with the assumption that the widow has sarcasm in her voice when she speaks to the prophet. I imagine she is thinking, you got to be kidding, right?
Why would God send this prophet to her when He doesn’t seem to care that the widow and her son are running out of food? They are on the edge of starving to death. Yet if you read the whole story in I Kings 17, the woman’s response to the prophet ends up being the answer to her problem. After she feeds the prophet, her oil and flour never run out until the famine is finally over.
Have you ever felt like that? One thing after another goes wrong and it leaves you feeling totally overwhelmed and you are silently saying to God, are you kidding me? God asks her to feed the prophet when she does not have enough for her own family. This is not the way one would expect God to work, but it is the way He usually answers our prayer. He asks us to trust him.
Often this is also a call to action. Trust followed by action. To act on that trust even if it feels senseless. It is our response to God that grows us in the faith. Giving what little food you have left away seems ridiculous, but sometimes it is the best way to say, I trust you God to be the answer.
If you are in a similar season right now, don’t shy away from actively practicing your faith. Put your trust in God and get ready to take some action. It might just end up being the answer to your situation.