1 Kings 17:8-16
Reading the story of Elijah and the famine turns my thoughts readily to the extreme drought conditions experienced by so many across the land during this summer and fall and even last summer along with all the forest fires and now the super storm. It is sobering when not even the Lord's faithful, like the prophet Elijah, escape such suffering.
In the midst of such difficult times, it is so easy to get caught up in questions of "why me?" or to let the fears of today and for the future consume our attention. But Elijah's story is a reminder that in the midst of such easy and ready despair, the Word of the Lord and the Lord's provision stand firm. Through the generous and faithful ministry of a widow in a strange land, Elijah finds God's persistent and surprising providence. Even so, we are invited to listen for the Lord's promise and loving care, even in the midst of difficult times.
Lord, teach us to trust in your word of promise. Help us to see the ways in which, even in the darkest times and in surprising places, your hand and your generous gifts offer us life and hope. Amen.
1 Kings 17:8-16 (NRSV)
8 Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying,
9 "Go now to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and live there; for I have commanded a widow there to feed you."
10 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."
11 As she was going to bring it, he called to her and said, "Bring me a morsel of bread in your hand."
12 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."
13 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.
14 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."
15 She went and did as Elijah said, so that she as well as he and her household ate for many days.
16 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.