Belief vs. Relief
Heavenly Father, thank you for this time we have together. I thank You for the many blessings You’ve poured into my life, known and unknown, and praise You for the work you’ve begun in me. Quiet my mind and thoughts, that I can hear only You. Amen.
1 Kings 17:17-24
New International Version (NIV)
17 Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing. 18 She said to Elijah, “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?”
19 “Give me your son,” Elijah replied. He took him from her arms, carried him to the upper room where he was staying, and laid him on his bed. 20 Then he cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, have you brought tragedy even on this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die?” 21 Then he stretched himself out on the boy three times and cried out to the Lord, “Lord my God, let this boy’s life return to him!”
22 The Lord heard Elijah’s cry, and the boy’s life returned to him, and he lived. 23 Elijah picked up the child and carried him down from the room into the house. He gave him to his mother and said, “Look, your son is alive!”
24 Then the woman 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.”
As I read these verses, I immediately identified with the woman. For a while, I was raised by a single Mom, and I saw first-hand the challenges that a single mother faces. Mom relied on members of our extended family (my sweet Uncle Howard, just two doors down from us, to name one) and our church family after we lost my father to leukemia. We had many people to love and support us. But I remember Mom saying that she often felt left out when surrounded by couples her own age. The woman who Elijah was staying with had many more challenges – a different society, who didn’t respect her just because she was a woman, and “blamed” her for being a single mother. Plus, she was poor, so poor that she was ready to “eat and die”. She simply worried about existing… She must have thought Elijah was a little nuts when he told her not to worry (“Do not fear…”), to make some bread, she would NOT run out of flour and oil. God made a miracle through Elijah to show her how much she is loved and how much He cared for her and her son.
And then I identified with her because Jim and I have been blessed with three sons. I love them very much, and thinking about one of them becoming ill and dying just makes me shudder. When our boys have struggled or been ill, I have to admit that I wondered what I did wrong, or how I could have been a better parent. This woman has lost everything, and in that culture, she’s blaming herself when Elijah revives the son from the dead and, again, God makes a miracle through Elijah to show His faithfulness to her. He showed her that it had nothing to do with her, that HE was in charge of her life.
This woman absolutely needed relief from worry and grief. This is the person God chose to help Elijah. God didn’t send Elijah to the richest, most healthy and wealthy family in the town, He sent Elijah to this poor widow. She was living a very difficult life, and the best thing she did was LISTEN to Elijah. She could have told him to get lost and leave her alone. Instead she listened, and I imagine a part of her was hoping that what this stranger said to her was true. God worked in her life through Elijah in a very powerful way. She became a believer by listening, trusting, and obeying.
Does God still do this? Does he work in our lives in this kind of powerful way today? I think he has, and can. This story makes me wonder about the ways in which God might have used me in a powerful way, but I wasn’t faithfully listening and obeying.
I believe that we experience small miracles all the time, but don’t slow down or listen enough to realize it! Has God made a miracle in your life through someone, because you were faithfully listening? I’d love to hear about it!