From Bleakness to Blessing
“And she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but a handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it and die……. For thus said the Lord God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the Lord sendeth rain upon the earth. And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days” (1 Kings 17:12, 14-15, KJV).
There are times on “life’s uneven journey” that we are overwhelmed by the harsh reality that is set before our face. The circumstances with which we are confronted often brings us to a place in our soul that we are ready to give up on life rather than going any further into the pain, darkness and bleakness that is before us. When we arrive at such a place in our mind, heart and spirit, we are in need of a divine visitation from one who can help us find hope in our despair (read Gen. 16:1-15), peace in the storm of our soul (read: Matt. 8:23-27) and healing where we are hurting (read: Mk. 9:14-27). When such events seize our soul, we are in need of sovereign “intervention” to find our way out of all that confronts us. Many, if not all, who are reading this devotion have been in such a place along life’s uneven journey, or you have witnessed it in the life of another. Some may even say our nation is in such a place at the present time!! Our text takes us to such a place in the lives of a widow woman in Zarephath, a gentile region, and the prophet Elijah. God sent Elijah to this widow gentile woman in Zarephath to provide for his care in what many would consider “an extremely” difficult situation. There was a famine and drought in the land. Under these conditions, the widow woman was barely surviving and she had a son for whom she had to provide care. These circumstances had caused the widow woman to give up on life. She had reconciled in her soul that death was the answer to her life situation. When Elijah arrived in her life, she was preparing to eat a “final meager meal” with her son and surrender their lives into the hands of death.
Wow!! What a bleak and destitute place to be in? Into this place of despair and hopelessness, God sent Elijah with a word of life and hope. In the face of her hopelessness, Elijah asked the widow woman to take a “Huge” step of faith. He asked her to trust “a God” she did not know and a man she had just met. Under these same circumstances, how do you think you would have reacted? You could eat the food you have and live for a little while longer or trust a God and a man that you did not know with your life and the life of your son. If Elijah was not telling the truth, the widow woman and her son would die sooner. To the widow woman’s credit she dared to trust Elijah’s God. Because she dared to trust the God of Israel, the Scripture says, “she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord, which He spake by Elijah.” Because the widow woman trusted Elijah’s God, He took her “From Bleakness to Being Blessed.” When we are going through the difficult days that come with this journey, no matter how dark they become, God is inviting us to trust Him with our lives. If you are in such a place in your life, let me encourage you to trust God with your situation. He has promised, regardless of the difficulty of the journey, never to leave nor forsake all who claim Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives. As we seek His face and His strength, God has promised to meet us where we have need. (Amen.)
Prayer: Lord, as we are called to walk through the dark place of this journey as we strive to live faithfully before Your face, help us to trust in the power of Your holy word and the companionship of Your Son and our Savior Jesus Christ. We offer this prayer before Your face in Jesus name. (Amen).
Rev. Larron D. Jackson, DMin.
Denver Cluster Mission and Ministry Coach
American Baptist Churches of the Rocky Mountains