Just as the Lord foretold, He cared and provided for me, Elijah, near the brook of Cherith, east of the Jordan.
Yahweh revealed Himself as enough.
As the wadi dried up, the Lord continued to guide me…a widow will feed me on my next leg of the journey.
Today I am moving, at the Lord’s command, to Zarephath:
“Get up, go to Zarephath that belongs to Sidon and stay there. Look, I have commanded a woman who is a widow to provide for you there.” (1 Kings 17:9)
As I hear these words from my God, I’m reminded of the weight of my calling as a prophet. Following Yahweh rarely means staying in one place, which often feels wearing. Still, I am reminded of the truth. I dwell with the Lord, the God of Israel, MY God; my home and my comfort are in Him. He will be enough. My rest comes from knowing He sees; He knows and He alone is ALL things wherever I dwell…I am with Him as I walk.
I begin my travels wondering about this widow, her name…her story…
The Lord knows it but I do not…I trust she, too, will follow the Lord’s command.
As I walk toward Zarephath, I see vile wickedness all around. These are sacred, and sometimes scary, times. I have seen the Lord prove Himself faithful time and time again, and yet my humanness perceives the brokenness around me and wrestles with faith.
In these moments, I recall the faith of my forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I’ve heard of their lives from the Torah, our holy Scripture; while each man was undeniably caught in sinful humanity, Yahweh drew them again and again to faith in Him. (Hebrews 11:6-22) Bolstered by remembering God’s empowering work in their lives, I ask Yahweh for the gift of faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9)
As I come to the gates of Zarephath, I lay eyes on a woman in widow’s clothing, gathering sticks. My thirst is unbearable, and I immediately ask for water. She turns to bring it willingly and I add a request for bread.
Her first words landed on my ears sweetly. “As the LORD your God lives [. . .]” (1 Kings 17:12a) She, a foreigner, knows my God!
Then, I hear her heart cry as she continues, “I don’t have anything baked–only a handful of flour in the jar and a bit of oil in the jug. Just now, I am gathering a couple of sticks in order to go prepare it for myself and my son so we can eat it and die.” (1 Kings 17:12b)
I am struggling.
Struggling with loneliness as I bear the crushing burden of survival for myself and my sweet boy.
Struggling with a society that leaves us scraps at the best of times, dust and searing hunger and the looming specter of death during this time of drought and famine.
Struggling with fear, which snarls in my ear and prods me to clench tight the handful of grain I have left. Who does this stranger think he is? What does he imagine I, who have nothing, can give him?
And struggling with the gentle nudge I feel in my spirit, like the first rivulets of rain slipping along the cracked earth of my soul. Trust Me, I seem to hear. I have not abandoned you. I have sent My prophet to you. Heed his request, for I can bring bounty from nothing.
I watch the battle between faith and fear play across the widow’s countenance.
I encourage her in her obedience, trusting the Lord alone to be sufficient:
“Don’t be afraid; go and do as you have said. But first make me a small loaf from it and bring it out to me. Afterward, you may make some for yourself and your son, for this is what the LORD God of Israel says, ‘The flour jar will not become empty and the oil jug will not run dry until the day the LORD sends rain on the surface of the land.’” (1 Kings 17:13-14)
As long as I live, I’ll always remember the day my mother returned from gathering wood for what we thought would be our final meal. Hearing her enter our home, I barely had the strength to lift my head from the place I layed curled in a ball, quaking with hunger and fatigue, my mouth too dry to ask what she was doing. Consciousness slipped away.
I awoke to the smell of baking bread as my mother pressed a cup of water to my bleeding lips. As I swallowed and sputtered, unaccustomed to such bounty, I caught a glimpse of a stranger seated nearby. He ate a small loaf of bread as he watched me, kindness in his weary gaze.
That day and beyond, the widow chose to walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7), as she shared her flour and oil. The Lord, in His great power, kept her supplies full. She fed her household and me, knowing Yahweh was sovereign, enough, and in control of her life, in His way and His time.
Sketched XI Day 5
Elijah also became the means of blessing a faithful servant of the Lord who would have starved to death had he not come.
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