Speed-reading the story of Elijah and Zarephath’s widow overlooks a key element. Previously, God tells Elijah to hightale it out of the drought and famine-stricken Kerith Ravine and head northwest to coastal Phoenicia. There a widow will give him food and drink to nourish his weary body. He does. And she does. That’s it?
Hardly. There’s much more going on here. Life involves plenty we never see with our eyes. As in angels caring for us. God intervening when we imagine it’s luck, karma or our genius efforts.
Or what the Holy Spirit does for us, unperceived and hidden. Can’t you sense Him at work? I do. Sometimes. Often I’m as unaware as can be. Blind as a bat. It’s usually when I look back that I see more clearly where God’s footsteps have been. When He scooped me up and carried me through.
In the story of Elijah and the Zarephath widow, there are a few strange verses. At least, I think so. 1 Kings 17: 8-9–“Then the word of the Lord came to him: ‘Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food.'” Here’s my question. Where’s God’s command to this poor, starving widow? Where? Can’t find it. Something missing?
As a matter of fact, she objects to Elijah’s request as there’s only enough food for her and her son. Soon the grim reaper will show up to cart them away, dead as can be. No mention of God’s command. Nothing. What gives? Is something left out of the biblical account?
What we don’t see is how God works behind the scenes in our lives. He uses unbelievers, strange circumstances, even prayers offered by people we’ve never met. God is at work even when our vision is mostly impaired.
Trust Him. Keep praying. Remain on alert. Watch and wait. Be surprised… but not really. Expect the unexpected. Again, trust Him.
Here’s the icing on the cake (and I love icing!)– like that widow from Zarephath, we will be used by the Lord in ways we can’t even imagine. Get ready. Be flabbergasted and bowled-over when bolted out of the blue being God’s helper in unforeseen circumstances. To an Elijah needing food and drink. To Jesus incognito. Serving Him is more than meets the eye!
Thank you, Lord Jesus, for surprising events that lead us to help others. Amen.