My heart was racing as I paced back and forth in the Florida ER facility calling family and friends to request urgent prayers for my baby girl. The ER doctor suspected our 14-year-old daughter had a brain aneurism. Later that day we found she had instead experienced her first migraine. Boy, did I learn about God’s strength & help that day!
Though I’ve been seeking after Jesus since childhood, I still have much to learn about trusting Him and walking in faith. One thing I’ve noticed from looking back is the hardest moments in my life are always the moments when God shines brightest, the moments He teaches me so much about his strength, his provision, and his love.
Such seems to be the case with the widow of Zarephath. The widow encountered a hungry Elijah and through a miracle of God’s provision continued to feed her family and Elijah with a bottomless jar of flour and jug of oil. Some time later we see Elijah settled in, evidenced by the fact he had his own bed in the upper room.
Then tragedy struck as the widow’s son took ill and grew worse until he stopped breathing. In her grief she struck out at Elijah. The prophet carried the still body to his room, laid him on the bed, and prayed for the child three times. God heard Elijah’s prayers and returned life to the child. The widow replied-
“Now I know you are a man of God and that the Word of the Lord from your mouth is truth.” – 1 Kings 17:24
The endless provision of flour and oil didn’t quite do it for the widow but the healing of her son did. “Now” she believed Elijah was of God. “Now” she realized the might and power of God. “Now” she recognized truth.
I look at the widow and at first wonder how she could have any doubts about Elijah and God after the divine provision of food. Then I look around my home to the many provisions God has given- abundant food, beautiful home, loving family- and realize that I often take these blessings for granted until something personal rocks my world. For the widow, it was her son’s death. For me it has been illnesses the children have gone through, medical conditions my loved ones continue to walk in, decisions my loved ones have made. It has been the situations that have sent me to my knees and caused tears to overflow. Those are the moments I’m renewed by God’s strength, those are the moments I’ve most strongly felt his loving arms hold me, and those are the moments that have taught me what it means to walk in faith. Those moments have taught me to say “Now” I understand just a little bit more about God. “Now” I will trust though I still don’t understand. “Now” I will walk by faith and not by sight while I continue to intercede and wait for prayers to be answered.
The events leading up to “now” moments are challenging and often painful and if given the choice I would probably skip out on them… yet those difficulties usually lead to the best and most insightful “now” moments… the “now” moments that take my faith to the next level.
Lord, you know me so well so I’ll just be honest and tell you I don’t like the struggles & challenges that come my way. You know I want life to be all joy and no heartache. Yet because you love me so infinitely you won’t let me stay where I am. You lead me through the valleys so I can know you better, depend on you more, and take my faith to the next level. I just want to stop and thank you for doing what is best for me even when it’s not what I would choose. Lord, be with my friends who stop by here today. Give them eyes to see how their difficulties can lead to ‘now’ moments that will blow them away. Amen!