Forty women: 32. The widow of Zarephath

You reached the end of your tether some days ago. Now you’ve entered the final stages of grim acceptance. Not just for yourself. No, that would be too easy. You’ve had to come to terms with it for your boy as well.

Had his father lived, it would not have come to this. He would have found a way to keep you both fed, and housed, and warm. But it’s just you now, on your own. And it has not rained.

For years, it has not rained. Nothing has grown worth harvesting. You’ve been ekeing out your stores, hoping against hope for a miracle. And now, you’ve had to admit, you’re at the end. But if it’s the end, you’ll go out as well as you can possibly manage.

So you’re gathering sticks one last time, to make one last fire. You’ll take the last grains of flour and the last drop of oil, to make one last round of bread. And with that, you’ll take your son, and you’ll hold him tight in your arms, and sing him to sleep. And you’ll pray that he never wakes again. Because the miracle isn’t coming.

And then it comes. Only, to take hold of it, you have to let go of what you have.

He’s asking you to make that round of bread and give it to him. And then go and make more for yourself and your boy. Doesn’t he understand? There is no more. There’s barely enough for one portion. There isn’t enough to share.

But he carries on, “For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.’

And she went and did as Elijah said.” (1 Kings 17:14-15)

What have you got to lose, after all?

What use holding on to that last handful of flour and drop of oil?

What use holding on to what you have, if it’s stopping you gaining far more than you’d ever imagined? A bottomless jar of flour, an endless flow of oil, a feast every day until the rains come.

Why wouldn’t you hand over the little that you have, in faith that the Lord, the God of Israel, will provide everything that you need?