Elijah had prophesied a drought which the region was now in the grips of when he came upon this widow gathering sticks. He not only audaciously asked for a drink of water but he asked for bread. The widow replied that all she had left was a handful of flour and a little oil to make a meal for her and her son…that we may eat it and die. So what Elijah asked her to do next was completely beyond comprehension for the poor woman. “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make bread for me.” This is where the widow had to look way beyond her circumstances and believe Elijah that there would not only be bread enough for her and her son today, but for many days to come. Has the Lord been asking you to do something that is frankly beyond what you can imagine? Do you have the courage like this widow to believe, but not only to believe, but to actually do it?
II Coronicles 20:15 “…this is what the Lord says to you:’Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s.’ “
We look at the insurmountable struggle in front of us with a sense of dread and hopelessness, knowing we’re not up to the battle. But the Lord is not asking us to do the fighting at all. He wants us to simply watch while He contends on our behalf. So, take your eyes off the battle, and put them on Him.
Philippians 4:9 ” And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
We look at this verse and suddenly we’re a little kid looking through the Sears Christmas catalog exclaiming…” I want this, and this, and this, OH, and this!!” It says that God will fully supply all your needs, but what we think are needs and what He thinks may differ greatly. Our needs could be just selfish wants, therefore, if we allow the Lord to supply all our needs we will lack nothing in accordance to His kindness and patience towards us. These magnificent riches of His glory will be made known to us, and we shall not want.
Luke 8:50 ” Fear not, just believe…”
We lie in bed at night with the “what ifs” reeling around in our heads. They are always the worst case scenarios for whatever is worrying us at the time. God hard-wired us humans to recognize danger, it’s called fight or flight, and it keeps us safe. But when we allow fear and anxiety to rule over our lives we suffer. These emotions aren’t new, in the Old Testament the Lord commanded the children of Israel many times… “Do not be afraid.” And in the New Testament, Jesus repeatedly said… “Fear not.” to the crowds. So what are we to do? Fear and anxiety can be channeled for the positive in our lives. They can challenge us to be wise, prudent, and a good steward of our resources. They can cause us to look at our current situations and make changes for the better. …and Jesus said, “Fear not.”
Acts 19: 11-12 ” God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.”
Today I found the handmade aprons I had been bequeathed from my Grandmother. Both my Grandmothers were resourceful, strong farm women who grew Victory gardens and families in the Illinois dirt during the Great Depression. They learned to make do with what they had and never lost faith during the dark times. As I look at these aprons and ponder this verse, I do agree that Paul was truly anointed of God, but the faith of the woman wearing that apron he had just touched was even more incredible. As she ran home, this woman had unwavering faith that when she laid the apron on the sick family member they would be totally healed. As I contemplate the aprons, I am thankful for the unfaltering faith of my Grandmothers… forever tied to me by these apron strings.
Lamentations 3: 31-33 ” For men are not cast off by the Lord forever. Though He brings grief, He will show compassion, so great is His unfailing love. For He does not willingly bring afflication or grief to the children of men.”
The term “willingly” comes from two Hebrew words which mean- from His heart. God doesn’t want to bring hardships into our lives, but He may do so in order to teach, convict, and bring us into a right relationship with Himself. We, unfortunately, have to live with the circumstances of wrong choices we’ve made. But the wonderful news is that despite how much we mess up, the Lord’s great love for us never ends…it is new every morning!