Chronicled in I Kings
This woman had it rough. Her husband was dead. She and her son were starving, down to their last bit of food in fact. In her wildest dreams, she never saw this coming. This was not the fairy tale she had hoped for in life. She had come to grips with the fact that she and her precious child were about to eat their final meal on earth. Then, along came the man of God.
The unnamed widow of Zaraphath met the fiery prophet Elijah at the city gate. As she was gathering sticks to use as kindling for her fateful dinner, Elijah asked for a cup of water. When she retreated to fetch it, he also asked for a morsel of bread. That’s when the conversation took a most interesting turn. The widow explained, “As the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”
True to form, Elijah exclaimed these prophetic words—“Do not fear; go and do as you have said, but make me a small cake from it first, and bring it to me; and afterward make some for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.’” The widow obeyed and, just as Elijah said, she never ran out of flour or oil throughout the famine. Out of her simple act of obedience, God had met her need.
The story’s not over yet. Get this: after the famine had ended and it seemed all would be restored, the widow’s son became ill and passed away. She had already lost her husband, perhaps to the same famine that nearly took her; now, her child was gone as well. How would she react? Could she stand such loss? Doubt crept in and her tired spirit finally broke.
“What have I to do with you, O man of God? Have you come to me to bring my sin to remembrance, and to kill my son?” The widow, in despair, had called Elijah out! Feeling forsaken, she had forgotten the miracles and began to question whether she was being punished in some way. I submit that her reaction was not different than ours would be.
I believe, however, that God took her cry of doubt and turned it into a cry of faith. By calling on the man of God, the widow made him spring to action. In essence, she put a demand on the gift inside Elijah. Elijah then cried out to God and the boy was brought back to life! The widow’s faith was restored: “Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is the truth.” Truth indeed.
So, how do we triumph in the midst of trial? Simply obey the Lord. He will handle the rest.