Have you ever been in a moment of time when you have so desperately looked for a miracle? When a circumstance or situation has come up and in this moment you don’t just desire God to move, its more than that, your whole being Needs Him to?
In Elijah 17 we find a story similar to this, in verse 17, we find a woman from Zarepath who has a son, and after some time he becomes so ill that he “stops breathing”. You can imagine the scene, this woman now alone with nothing left and she is angry, she lashes out at Elijah, “What do you have against me..?” The reality is Elijah was not at fault, he was simply there because God sent him.
A little background to this story is that Elijah has declared at the word of God that no rain would fall and so the region was in drought. For a time God had kept Elijah safe in Kerith Ravine a brook east of the Jordan (v2-6), where he drank the water there, and the ravens brought him bread and meat to eat twice a day every day, and there he remained until the brook dried up. And so in verse 9 we find God telling Elijah go to Zarepath where he would find a widow who would look after him. So obediently Elijah went to Sidon, and at the city gate found a woman searching and collecting sticks. So he asked her would she bring him water and bread, believing her to be the lady God had mentioned. Can you imagine the scene as she tells Elijah she was actually in need and unable to support him? She is a poor widow, an outcast to her society, her son is probably not old enough to work and so unable to fend for themselves she is out gathering sticks for the last meal she believed they would eat. She tells this stranger, “I only have a handful of flour and a little oil in a jug to make a meal for myself and my son that we may eat – and die”.
Can you visualize this women’s plight? That’s a unbearable situation to be in! I guess every parent at one point or another has looked at their bank account and wondered will it last? The kids need shoes, or lunch money, or there is a school trip, the electricity bill needs paid, and yet when we leave these needs with God he manages to bring us through, no different than this lady, though on this day she was going from looking death in the face to life- and she didn’t even see it coming! Grace is like that, you never see Grace coming.
So back to this story, Elijah says to her; boldly believing in Gods supply rather than the circumstance; “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”.
Can you even begin to picture what this lady is now thinking? Let’s bear in mind this lady is from Sidon, she lives in the region where Jezebel came from, the wife of Ahab who Elijah had just gone against declaring drought. Yet with every reason to walk away and never return this lady goes and does exactly what Elijah said in blind faith, and so they eat for many many days free of charge from Gods bountiful supply. All is looking great, but then, her son becomes unwell and subsequently dies. Which takes us back to the beginning; she is angry at Elijah and angry at his God.
So Elijah takes the boy to the upper room where he had been staying and shouts to God, he cries out on behalf of the woman praying three times for this child to be resurrected. He persisted, his frustration, his anger, his confusion- all pouring out over this child to the God he served so obediently this far, and the bible says in verses 22, The Lord heard Elijah’s cry and the boys life returned to him. God heard him, and the little boy was carried back to his mother with the words look, your son is alive. I could never imagine hearing those words, can you picture it? The relief, the excitement, the confusion, yet utter joy that the only person she had left was not dead at all but alive and well?
Then we read the words of 1 Kings 17:24, “Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth.” I read this passage a few days ago, and I turned to my husband and said, “Is she serious? It took a resurrection?” (Italics mine)
But if I were honest isn’t it funny what we miss? Isn’t it funny what I miss?
Truthfully there are times that I miss the everyday blessing because my mind is focused on the ‘big things’. This ladies son would have inevitably died weeks before had it not been for Elijah showing up on her door step, and God providing her with ongoing meals. Yet when her son gets sick from something completely unrelated she is angry. She forgot so easily that God had saved both of their lives weeks before when he had miraculously given them an unending supply of food. She forgot that God had lived up to his character Jehovah Jireh- The Lord Will Provide. And in this moment those every day miracles of time with her son, became distant in her mind as she so desperately desired his resurrection.
Since I read it I have been considering my life, what do I miss everyday because I am looking for bigger? Those moments when my kids pray for something I thought they would never think of? The time I have with my kids and my husband and my family, seeing a sunrise everyday and a sunset, the feel of grass on my toes chasing my girls in a park, the roof over my head, the food on my table. These are not the little things; these things are the big things! It’s just I become so desensitised to it that I forget to count them as blessings!
Too often I can become like this woman, I get so used to the flour in my jar, and the oil in my jug that I forget these things would not be here if it were not for God who created them, who bestows them upon me. Even on my worst day there are still a hundred things that I can be grateful for, that I can look upon and be thankful for. Even in the darkest hour, there is still a glimmer of light. All I need to do is find the perspective in order to see it.
Simply put, what if you only had tomorrow what you thanked God for today? Would you wake with anything?
This story is not only a lesson in Faith and taking God at his word so that you can see his power and his provision, it is a lesson in thankfulness. In remembering where your blessings come from because nothing under in heaven or earth exists except for God creating it. (Col 1:16) Live in the moment!