Most of us were not prepared for isolation, loneliness, anxiety and even fear of an uncertain tomorrow. A father or mother who has lost a job, a parent who is sick and suffering in the hospital alone, children out of school and needing an extra measure of guidance, love and mercy. How do we deal with these trials? How can we get help? Our hearts feel so heavy! Where can we find hope?
For me, it can be very hard to ask for help and trust people in times of trial. However, when we are looking for solutions to a bad situation, it can be a good idea to call a trusted friend who might have some ideas that would prove helpful. This is where we meet a widow in 2 Kings 4:1-7.
We don’t know exactly where the story took place, but this widow probably lived in one of the cities where the schools of prophets were present. The widow turned to the prophet Elisha in her time of need. She appealed to the prophet on the basis that her husband was a man faithful to the Lord and that now, after his death, their sons were being taken as slaves for the payment on her home.*
I’ve got an idea!
Elisha comes up with an out-of-the-box idea using only something the woman has in her house: “a small jar of olive oil” (4:2). Elisha suggests she go to all her neighbors collecting empty jars and filling them with the oil from this small jar. Elisha goes on to say that, when each jar is filled, put it to the side (4:3). That’s crazy right? She only has one jar of oil!
What do you think about that idea? Doesn’t it seem like it would be a waste of time? Yet God provided all she needed by filling up each jar one by one until the last jar was full. It was a true miracle. She then went and sold all the jars of oil to pay the debt owed, and she and her sons lived on what was left over (4:7).
Do you believe this?
What about us today? It is a test of our faith to believe that God can provide a solution when the situation looks bad in our own eyes. Yet God continues to be there for us, working through his Word and his creation in the lives of his people.
Do you have the courage to tell someone what you are going through and to ask them for help? They may have an idea to get you through another day, provide food for your family or even help you with the debt you owe. I think about my brother-in-law, who helped me during a difficult time when I told him about my situation while drying dishes in my sister’s home. Without his help, I would not be in ministry today. God knows what we need even before we ask him (Matt. 6:8). God works through his people to bring us hope and healing.
You are not alone. Take a step of faith and tell someone what you need – and let them help you.
Who knows? You may witness a miracle!