During the drought, Elijah had been instructed by God to stay by a stream where he was miraculously cared for. When the stream dried up, the Lord told him to move on, this time to the village of Zarephath where he was led to the home of a widow. Because the woman trusted in God’s provision in first serving Elijah from the last of her food supply, He caused her containers of flour and oil to last and last. Elijah delivered the Lord’s message to her: “There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!” (I Kings 17:14b, NLT).
But then her son became sick and then died. The widow immediately blamed herself: “O man of God, what have you done to me? Have you come here to point out my sins and kill my son?” (I Kings 17:18b). The enemy wanted this poor widow to believe that her sins had caused her son’s death.
But, as Jesus told the disciples when they asked why the man was born blind, “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him” (John 9:3b).
Elijah turned to the tormented widow and said, “‘Give me your son.’ And he took the child’s body from her arms, carried him up the stairs to the room where he was staying, and laid the body on his bed. Then Elijah cried out to the Lord, ‘O Lord my God, why have you brought tragedy to this widow who has opened her home to me, causing her son to die?’” (I Kings 17:19-20).
“And he stretched himself out over the child three times and cried out to the Lord, ‘O Lord my God, please let this child’s life return to him.’ The Lord heard Elijah’s prayer, and the life of the child returned, and he revived! Then Elijah brought him down from the upper room and gave him to his mother” (I Kings 17:21-23a).
What began as a horrible tragedy ended as a time of rejoicing. Had the child not died, Elijah would never have called on the Lord to restore him to life. Had the child never been restored to life, the widow and all those living around her would never have seen this mighty act of God. There is purpose even in those things we find impossible to understand.
“It is not a question of God allowing or not allowing things to happen. It is part of living. Some things we do to ourselves, other things we do to each other. Our Father knows about every bird which falls to the ground, but He does not always prevent it from falling. What are we to learn from this? That our response to what happens is more important than what happens. Here is a mystery: one man’s experience drives him to curse God, while another man’s identical experience drives him to bless God. Your response to what happens is more important than what happens.” (Chip Brodgen)
“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern.” (Elisabeth Kübler-Ross)
Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates