1 Kings 17 introduces us to a nameless woman known as, the widow of Zarephath. She is described by her marital status and geographical location. She was a single mother, most likely working as hard as she could, to provide for her son, who may have been the one thing left of her hope.
The Widow of Zarephath's Story
When life is one big crisis
When things were probably already hard, a crisis hit. Drought. No dew, no rain, no water. Whoever this woman was, she was likely facing one of the toughest seasons in her life to date.
We say it so often, the Lord works in mysterious ways. It’s true, He does! After Elijah the prophet at the time proclaimed the drought he was instructed by God to go, wait for it, to the widow of Zarephath’s house and was told there God would provide for him.
Have you ever had those surprise visits from relatives? The ones that catch you off guard and don’t give you time to get groceries or panic clean? This sounded like one of those except worse, the visit was from a total stranger who was expecting to be provided for! Crazy!
Elijah, being the man of God He was, obeyed the command of God and turns up at this widows house. Not only that he asks for something to drink, in a drought, where there’s no water. Then on top of that he asks for bread.
Acting on blind faith
As the story unfolds we see the desperate position the widow was in. With transparency she explains her situation. In her cupboards she had just enough ingredients to make one more meal for herself and her son and after that, suspected they would just wait to die.
The Bible says:
“For thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘The bin of flour shall not be used up, nor shall the jar of oil run dry, until the day the Lord sends rain on the earth.’ ”” I Kings 17:14 NKJV
Elijah declared the flour and the oil would not run dry until the drought was over. How could this be? What did that mean? What if it’s true? What’s the worst that could happen?
Irrespective of what the widow could see, what she thought would be her fate and all the fears in between, she chose to act in faith. She gave all that she had to Elijah, she put all her hope in God and He did not disappoint. God took her little and made it a lot. The widow experienced a miracle because she chose to believe that God was God of the impossible.
Hope against hope
Just when you thought the story had ended on a good note, there’s more. Some time after the miracle the widow’s son got sick, and died!
Can you imagine the pain? Death was what she suspected before the miracle, but after? How could this be? She had given all that she had and still her fears became reality. It didn’t make sense. Angry, frustrated, confused, emotions I’m sure this widow battled with as she wondered what to do with the only person she had left.
She made the decision to take her lifeless son to Elijah. God couldn’t be done, this was not how her story was to end. If God could save them before couldn’t He do it again?
What do you think happened? You have to read it for yourself in 1 Kings 17:17-24. What I can tell you is that God came through once again, like He always does and He always will. This woman’s story is an encouragement to hold onto hope when all seems lost. God is not done with you yet.
In what area of your life is God asking you to hold on right now?