Now Elijah the Tishbite, of Tishbe in Gilead, said to Ahab, ‘As the Lord the God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall be neither dew nor rain these years, except by my word.’ The word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘Go from here and turn eastwards, and hide yourself by the Wadi Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. You shall drink from the wadi, and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there.’ So he went and did according to the word of the Lord; he went and lived by the Wadi Cherith, which is east of the Jordan. The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning, and bread and meat in the evening; and he drank from the wadi. But after a while the wadi dried up, because there was no rain in the land.
Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying, ‘Go now to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and live there; for I have commanded a widow there to feed you.’ So he set out and went to Zarephath. When he came to the gate of the town, a widow was there gathering sticks; he called to her and said, ‘Bring me a little water in a vessel, so that I may drink.’ As she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, ‘Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand.’ But she said, ‘As the Lord your God lives, I have nothing baked, only a handful of meal in a jar, and a little oil in a jug; I am now gathering a couple of sticks, so that I may go home and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.’ Elijah said to her, ‘Do not be afraid; go and do as you have said; but first make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterwards make something for yourself and your son. For thus says the Lord the God of Israel: The jar of meal will not be emptied and the jug of oil will not fail until the day that the Lord sends rain on the earth.’ She went and did as Elijah said, so that she as well as he and her household ate for many days. The jar of meal was not emptied, neither did the jug of oil fail, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah.
Faithfulness appears in unexpected places.
This widow lived outside of Israel and was not an Israelite, yet she was willing to trust the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and to trust Elijah, a prophet of that God. When she was at the end of her resources and her ability to care for herself and her household, she trusted in God. As I have travelled in Haiti and gotten to know my Haitian siblings in Christ, a common refrain is trusting in God to provide in a way that goes deeper than I had previous experienced in the United States. There is something about the place when you can no longer meet your own needs that pushes you into trusting God with all that you have.
Some questions to consider:
When have you felt most connected to your faith and able to trust in God? What circumstances surrounded that for you?
How have you learned to trust God's provision for you throughout your life? In this time of pandemic?
What surprising examples of faith have you witnessed? What can this teach us about God's action in our world?
Thank you God for all the ways that you provide for us. Teach us to trust you more deeply, to follow you more closely and to proclaim your life-giving work in our world. Amen.