Summary: This is the story of two women who learned that our’s is the God of the impossible.
There’s disappointment. There’s discouragement, and then there’s hopelessness. If you’ve ever really known hopelessness, then you know the difference. It’s that point when you feel you truly have nothing to look forward to but more despair and defeat. You just don’t believe the sun will rise again. Such was the case of two widows who learned a wonderful truth about God.
The first widow, along with her son, was confronted with starvation and was preparing their final meal when the prophet Elijah came to her. The second widow, deeply in debt and preparing to see her two sons taken into indentured service by her creditor, went to Elisha in desperation. In both situations
• The women learned that God is the God of the Impossible.
He will help you if you will first...
I. Look at what you have to offer.
So Elisha said to her, “What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in the house?” And she said, “Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.”
When God is going to do a miracle, He first wants us to offer what we have. God can create something out of nothing, but He first wants us to see what He has given us, and He wants us to offer it to him. It might be something tangible, like the flour and oil or the jar of oil. Or it might be even more personal . . . like ourselves. No matter how bad things may seem, there’s always something we can offer to God.
Neither widow had wealth or assets. Notice what they say:
Widow # 1: “As the Lord your God lives, I do not have bread, only a handful of flour in a bin, and a little oil in a jar; and see, I am gathering a couple of sticks that I may go in and prepare it for myself and my son, that we may eat it, and die.”
Widow # 2: “The creditor is coming to take my two sons to be his slaves...Your maidservant has nothing in the house but a jar of oil.”
Both situations seemed hopeless. They didn’t have much, but they still had something. God wanted them to surrender everything; to take the focus off of themselves and focus on the Lord.
II. There are no hopeless situations; there are only people who have grown hopeless about them. – Clare Boothe Luce
2 Corinthians 9:7 - 8 says, “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you, that you, always having all sufficiency in all things, may have an abundance for every good work.”
To give grudgingly, or out of a sense of obligation, is to miss God’s blessings.
III. Be willing to trust God and do whatever he asks.
Can you imagine going to a widow, a single parent raising her infant son alone, and asking her for the last bit of food in the house - - knowing that both she and her child were themselves hungry, and starving to death? Can you imagine the struggles that this woman went through?
The question is, “Was she going to obey?”
God told Elijah in verse 1, “I have commanded a widow there to provide for you.” Personally, I’ve reread that passage several times, and it sure doesn’t sound like she was expecting him. Just how God spoke to her, it doesn’t say, but she did obey him.
• It’s not a matter of understanding; it’s a matter of obedience.
The Lord doesn’t always let us in on what He’s doing. In his book, “I Was Once Blind But Now I Squint,” Kent Crockett wrote, “Trust fills the gap when we don’t understand. We must give the Father the benefit of the doubt.”
Proverbs 3:5 - 6 instructs us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”
That reminds me of the farmer that decided to buy a chain saw. A logging foreman sold him one that he guaranteed would cut down 15 trees in a single day. A week later, a very unhappy farmer came back to report that the power saw must be faulty - it averaged only 3 trees a day. The foreman grabbed the saw, pulled the cord, and immediately the saw growled loudly with power. “Hey” demanded the startled farmer, “what’s that noise?”
I wonder if we’re kinda like that farmer. We just don’t get it. Sometimes we just can’t see how faith works. When God asks us to act with faith, we change the rules to suit our own understanding. Then we can’t understand it when there’s no miracle. All we can say is, “Hey what’s that noise?” We can’t see God’s miracles because all we trust is our own understanding rather than the goodness and power of God.