By Dr. Michael Youssef
No matter how small or insignificant we feel at times, God can turn our resources and talents into something substantial for His glory. When Elijah’s water source in Kerith Ravine dried up, God sent him to the pagan, and potentially hostile, city of Zarephath. Even if the plan didn’t make sense to Elijah, he trusted God’s sovereignty.
During that time, God gave Elijah the opportunity to minister to a Phoenician widow and her son. “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'” (1 Kings 17:8-9).
When Elijah first approached the widow at the city gates, he asked her for water and bread, just as the Lord instructed him to do, even though she explained she had only enough for her last meal. “‘As surely as the Lord your God lives,’ she replied, ‘I don’t have any bread—only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it—and die'” (1 Kings 17:12).
Elijah could have responded that he would not impose on the poverty-stricken widow. He could have asked God for better accommodations. He could have complained that the widow was not only poor, but also a pagan Gentile. Instead, Elijah followed God’s commands and God used his faith to make a difference in that family. Elijah believed and trusted God’s promise that, “‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord gives rain on the land'” (1 Kings 17:14b).
Elijah did not randomly call on a person to shelter and feed him. God had already told him about the widow, and Elijah knew that if she were to be a part of God’s plan, then God was preparing her heart as well. Elijah understood that when God makes a plan, He also makes the way for it to happen. Therefore, Elijah did not worry about the details, the danger he was in at Zarephath or the grumbling in his stomach. God told him to go to the widow, and Elijah obeyed.
Even though the widow had resigned herself to death by starvation, God supernaturally multiplied her small amount of flour and oil so that the jars never ran empty during Elijah’s stay. The Lord took Elijah’s faith and the widow’s paltry resources and transformed them into big blessings.
Throughout his time of hiding, Elijah looked past his circumstances to God’s faithful provision. Elijah’s faith was securely rooted in his trust in God’s promises. But many of us focus more on our troubles than we do on the God who can deliver us. When we face scarcity, do we forget the times that God has provided for us in the past? When we face great obstacles, do we forget that God desires to help us? When we stumble, why do we forget that God is always there to pick us up?
Many of us are willing to take risks in our business deals or in adventurous sports, but few of us are spiritual risk takers. Few of us are willing to place our total trust in God’s promises instead of our own plans.
God wants to see unwavering faith and complete trust in Him. No matter what our circumstances, God will use us if we are willing to follow Him and to step out in faith. When we recognize that we are nothing, and God is everything, God moves into action through us. We are little, but God can do much through us.
Is there something holding you back from following God in complete faith? Confess to the Lord the things that you are keeping from Him, and seek His help to release control of these areas in your life.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” –Romans 15:13
Devotional forwarded to you by:
UP CHRISTIAN YOUTH MOVEMENT
NCCP Ecumenical Ministry – Church of the Risen Lord
University of the Philippines, Diliman Campus, QC