Revisiting the widow circa 1980

I had heard the story many times of the widow who fed the prophet Elijah when she had only enough flour and oil to feed her son and herself and then they were going to die. The prophet said to her, “Don’t worry, if you make me a cake first and then you and your son eat what is left, the Lord promises that your barrel of meal will never be used up and the cruse of oil will never fail until the Lord sends rain again on the earth.” God told Elijah to move from the brook Cherith where he was being fed by ravens to Zarephath where the widow with little food lived because the brook had dried up. It looked like he was moving from dryness to dryness, but he obeyed God.

Because Elijah was obedient and the widow was obedient, she and her household (which included Elijah by now) ate for many days. Ironically, during this time of provision, the woman’s son gets ill and “there was no breath left in him”. How confusing! She is angry with the prophet. In my mind’s eye I can imagine her beating her fists on his chest as she says, “Have you come to punish me for my sins by taking my son?” Interestingly to me, the prophet seems just as confused. He cries to the Lord, “O Lord, my God, why?” How is it that you spare the family just to destroy it a little while later? Elijah spreads himself out over the child, crying out to the Lord and the Bible says, “the Lord heard the voice of Elijah and the soul of the child came into him again…”

The next verse made me laugh as I read it out loud during devotions yesterday, “And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth.” (I Kings 17:24) Week after week of food provision did not convince the woman that Elijah was really a prophet, only the raising of her son from the dead did. Could this, perhaps, be why she had to go through the prospect of the loss of her son?

I remember adopting our first daughter from St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the Caribbean. She was a very sick baby and there was delay after delay with her visa to get her into the US. Once here it took another month to get her a diagnosis. She almost died several times because she was unable to breathe. I was like the widow when I asked, “God, you brought this child thousands of miles to live in our home. You performed miracles to get her here. Are you just going to let her die?” He seemed to say, “You must move. If you don’t, she will die.” I was at a community hospital where no one was helping her. I got her admitted to Hershey Medical Center and at first the care was much the same. It seemed as though I had moved from dryness to dryness, but God said, “Trust me.” One day she stopped breathing and then everything changed. People became interested in her case. There “just happened” to be a visiting heart-lung doctor at the medical center. He diagnosed her, a visiting surgeon from South Africa operated on her and she is a healthy 30-year-old today. When the Lord saved my little girl’s life, I knew Who had brought all the pieces together.

The widow in I Kings wasn’t even named. She was just a mother caring for her child, but she, my friends, incarnates the passionate focus that changes everything. Focus on Him this third day of Advent. He changes everything.

Dawn

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10 comments on “Revisiting the widow circa 1980

    • Dear Danelle,

      He changes everything, not me and Him, not circumstances and Him, not my talents and HIm–only Him. He uses my body as a dwelling place in which to move, but I need to yield control to Him. Yielding control/submitting is not an automatic attribute: to lay prostrate, to spread oneself out over another and weep, they are not common occurrences. Somehow we must find the passion to let Him rule in our lives. The world needs a Savior and we know where He is.

      Thanks for being here today, Danelle,
      You always bless my heart,
      Dawn

  1. Dawn I feel as if I am the one prostrate over the son, or crying out to God with the “Why God”…You performed miracles to get her here. Are you just going to let her die?” as you shared, or as Elijah spoke, “O Lord, my God, why?” How is it that you spare the family just to destroy it a little while later?”
    And then God who takes breath away and has power to give it back again does what is humanly impossible. And we believe.
    As we come prostrate before Him… our heart laid in an act of submissiveness to the All Mighty One… the heart of God comes down.

    Sometimes it is with healing, sometimes, it is to take up with Him what is already His and to let sorrow complete His good work in us. His tapestry, His design, His loving purpose. With our dim eyesight we cannot always understand His good pleasure. It often hurts too much.
    Reading your most beautiful post today, I am deeply moved, weeping for God’s graciousness right to the end, and know that my heart would cry out to God in similar circumstances … I pray I would always be faithful to receive His gracious answers to my pleas.

    All of creation groaneth and travaileth together in pain, waiting for the adoption, that is the redemption of our bodies~ Romans

    may we come before Him in humble adoration this advent season… plant our seeds of wheat, and see the dead raised to life… Hallelujah! He our seed of hope.

    Wikipedia saysProstration is the placement of the body in a reverentially or submissively prone position. Major world religions employ prostration either as a means of embodying reverence for a noble person, persons or doctrine, or as an “act of submissiveness to a supreme being or beings (i.e. God or gods)”

    Elijah laying prostrate on the child before God… broken before Him…giving all to Him… giving up all….and taking up new life…the blessing reaching those around him.

    God’s love always reaches out to those around us
    Thank you for sharing this piece of God’s love to us, Dawn
    I praise God for His mercies in regard to sparing your precious daughter…this was so beautifully shared and….HE is sooo very good!

    • Dear Susan,

      You and I could have a great Bible study. One word sets the other off in a torrent of thoughts, and, oh, how you pen them. You have such glorious prose. You makes so many important points, but the one that reached out to me was “I pray I would always be faithful to receive His gracious answers to my pleas.”

      Duane Scott’s reflection request for this fourth day of Advent is: What need do you have that you have not asked God (Jehovah Jirah) to meet and why? I think my answer has to do with the unwillingness to accept His answer. This is a new revelation to me. I needed your statement here to bring this into focus. Thank you, Dear Susan.

      I always get more in the comment section than I ever give in a post.
      God bless you,
      Dawn

  2. The beauty and the wonder of our beloved Book . . . to tell a story that is our story that we may know in a deeper way how deeply He knows and cares for us . . . that we may rightly attribute the putting together of the pieces. Great post, Dawn.

    • Dear Andrea Dawn,

      I have missed you more than you will ever know. In one, short succinct statement you have nailed the essence of the whole post. I was over at Mike Azur’s last evening and I commented how wonderful the Bible was because it told the real stories of real people with all their sins and flaws so that we wouldn’t feel He couldn’t use us. Now, here is another instance where the Biblical story is MY story and you know, Andrea Dawn, I didn’t even get that till you said it.

      I love the phrase “our beloved Book”

      Thank you, thank you. I may have to go to Michael W. Smith and listen to Ancient Words and just “be still” for a moment.
      Dawn

  3. I agree with Danielle…I need this to take with me today, also. Do peaceful times ever come? I am tired of being broadsided, run over. The choices are not easy ones. God will help me sort things out. Today….I will focus on Him. With abandon.

    thank you for this, Dawn. Again, for taking the time to write for us. Your writing is a blessing. I prayed for you several times yesterday, during my own times of challenge.

    • Dear A.,

      Your prayers are so appreciated. I pray for you with groaning because I don’t get a clear sense of what direction you should take. You left a difficult situation before, but you had babies to think about then. I wonder, without others to think about, just yourself, if you are enduring too much. Are there criteria in place that would be the “line scratched in the sand” for you?

      Is there a story in the Bible that matches yours? Think about that as you focus on Him,
      Dawn

  4. I have adopted a “thought” which is: I will take care of God’s business and He’ll take care of mine.

    I have been suffering for quite some time with an undiagnosed illness. After tons of money and seeking help, still no answers. I spent countless hours on the internet trying to help myself, as well. God revealed to me (for my particular circumstance) that He will guide me but that I’d been striving in my own strength for too long (even for one second was too long).

    I became trapped into self-focus (even though it seemed legitimate). This took my eyes off Christ and advancing His kingdom. Finally, God got my attention. I now completely rely on Him to guide me (to a doctor, a remedy, a vitamin, a diet, etc). I am freed up to minister to others because I’m no longer ministering to mySELF.

    And your post reminded me (as I’m still battling illness) to continually trust the One who is able to provide, heal and deliver!

  5. Lovely, Loving Cristal,

    I just went right back up to Susan’s post to plunk it down here. She says it so beautifully:

    As we come prostrate before Him… our heart laid in an act of submissiveness to the All Mighty One… the heart of God comes down.

    Sometimes it is with healing, sometimes, it is to take up with Him what is already His and to let sorrow complete His good work in us. His tapestry, His design, His loving purpose. With our dim eyesight we cannot always understand His good pleasure. It often hurts too much.

    As you say, to continually trust the One who is able to provide, heal and deliver. He is also the One who can delay, walk alongside and decide we must go through. Like I hinted at in my response to Susan–the reason I don’t ask God for things is a reluctance to accept His answer. I don’t want to go through or wait or suffer. If I have an inkling that that is precisely what He wants me to do, I don’t ask. That way I can delude myself into thinking He has an easier way for me.

    I am struggling with just such a need now. I am truly ministering to mySELF in this area and I hate it, but I haven’t hated it enough to obey what I think God wants me to do. Thanks for your comment that brought me around to this again,
    I think.
    Dawn

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