We don’t need to worry about doing, having, or being enough when our God is enough.
Being in women's ministry has exposed me to some of the most prevalent problems facing women today. At the top of that list is the struggle of feeling like we are not enough. With so much pressure to do and be everything, many women feel inadequate to keep up with all the demands of life. There is just not enough money in the bank, time on the calendar, or energy in our bodies to keep up. These pressures are leaving us frustrated with ourselves, our family, and even God. So I want to introduce you to someone who completely understands. She is the widow of Zarephath and we read about her in 1 Kings 17. It was during this time that the prophet Elijah prophesied a severe three and a half year drought in the land. Elijah was hiding by a brook until it ran dry and the Lord directed him to meet this widow.
After his journey from the brook to a town called Zarephath, where the widow lived, it must have been very pleasing to him to see the widow God told him would provide for him. Thirsty from his journey, he first asks the widow for some water. No problem. Without protest the widow makes her way to get some water for Elijah. But as she is leaving to get the water he asks for some bread too. She lets Elijah know she simply does not have enough. She says:
“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 olive 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 NIV
She could have just said, “No.” But her words are dripping with frustration and resentment. When Elijah asked for bread this hit a nerve. After all, it was the God of Elijah who caused this drought, forcing this widow and her son to eat their last meal. Put yourself in her shoes. She's lost her husband and is now left with the weight of raising her only son alone. With this drought she has probably seen countless friends and family leave and pass away. Now she has accepted the fact that she and her son are going to do the same. Can you imagine why she would feel that she didn’t have enough, and even that she herself was not enough? And here comes Elijah asking for more. Asking for her bread meant asking for her very last. How discouraged she must have been. But who better to encourage this widow than Elijah? He understands what it’s like to run low on resources. He knows what it’s like to only have enough for each day. He’s seen God’s faithfulness by the brook even when it ran dry. The faith he developed there was not just for himself. It was also for this widow.
Elijah knew his provision did not come from the widow but from God. The widow was simply an instrument God would use to provide for Elijah. So Elijah tells the widow, “Do not be afraid.” (1 Kings 17:13) Instead of responding to her fear with more fear, Elijah responds in faith. I bet the widow must have been curious as to how Elijah could have faith in such a desperate situation since he was just as bad off as her, if not worse. Still, Elijah tells the widow to go on with her plan to make her last portion of bread. Then he tells her to give some to him first and that the Lord will provide so her flour and oil will not run out until the drought stops. And guess what? God did just as Elijah said He would. Every day God provided for the widow, her son, and Elijah. Her oil and flour did not run out even after she gave what she thought was her last. Even when we feel we do not have enough or that we are not enough we can still give our all to God. He can do far more with our little than we can do with a lot. And that’s what we see here with the widow. She gave Elijah a little bread, and God miraculously provided her and her son with food and water until the drought ended. She gave up her little to receive God’s more.
Sometimes when going through tests and trials we feel we don't have anything left to give. But if we'll do our best, we can trust God will do the rest. Whether it's being nice when we don't feel good, tithing when money is tight, or following God when the desire to do so is lacking, we can trust that if we give God our little, He can still do a lot.God is not asking for our portion as much as He is asking for our faith. This widow thought she needed water, flour, and oil. But what she really needed was God. And she learned that God is not limited by the things that limit us. What do you need today? What are you lacking and don't have enough of? Remember this: we don’t need to worry about doing, having, or being enough when our God is enough.
This post was adapted from Christina Patterson’s latest book “Daughters of Fire: Igniting Your Passion For God In An Increasingly Dark World”. Click here to read chapter one for free!
Christina Patterson is a wife and stay-at-home mom with a passion to encourage women in the love of Jesus Christ and the truth of God’s Word. When she is not folding laundry or playing blocks you will find her with her head deep in her Bible or a commentary. She holds her masters in Theology from Liberty University and is the founder of Beloved Women, a non-profit providing resources and community for women to truly know who they are in Christ: His Beloved. She blogs at belovedwomen.org.