The Widow of Zarephath: Serious Faith
Today's article is another installment in Sister Alena X. Ricci's series on the women of the Bible.
The widow of Zarephath is probably a familiar figure to many of you. She is the woman who gave everything she had to make Elijah a meal.
She’s a common example of serious faith, a faith and a mind open to anything.
Her life reflects God’s goodness.
Her story is a “simple” one. Elijah comes to her and requests food, and she tells him that she is about to make her last meal for herself and her son before they die of starvation. But she gives Elijah food anyway, and then her little supply of flour and oil never runs dry.
Now, reading this and putting myself in her shoes and seeing things through her eyes, I am sure that her prayer was, “God give me food. Give me something. Give me anything. Spare my son first; spare me second.”
And I’m sure that the answer she was hoping for was something along the lines of receiving money or food or help in some way.
I am 100 percent positive that the answer she was hoping for was not for a man to come up to her and tell her to give him the last of her food.
And how many times do you and I live this? How many times have you prayed and received an answer that didn’t make sense or that is frustrating in the moment?
But how many times have we said, “God is good anyway”?
This widow shows us that not only is God good, but He is working good for us.
Let’s take a second to breathe that in.
God was working good for this woman with Elijah, and He is working good for you right now.
That is straight up insane, when you think about it — that the God who literally breathed life into Adam is working good for you.
There have been many times in my life when I am desperately praying for something — a job, most recently — and I am reminded time and time again that God is good.
It’s easy to tell myself that as a reminder.
But an even stronger one? That God is working goodness for me.
That God is actively working so that the answer to my prayer comes about in some way.
This woman probably thought that she was hearing silence on the other end of her prayer, but instead she was hearing, “Wait and see my goodness coming.”
It is so easy for us to say that nothing is happening when we pray, but God’s mysterious ways are working and moving in ways we cannot see or comprehend, and this widow is proof of that.
Image credit: "The Prophet Elias and the Widow of Sarepta" by Bernardo Strozzi c. 1640
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This article has undergone ministry review and approval.