Summary: God can use every situation for his good.

- On December 29th, 2000 during the middle of the afternoon 34 year (anonymous name), a father, husband, son, friend took his own life. Many of you knew him, and loved him. And even if you didn’t know him, the question is still on your mind about such an unfortunate incident... why? I remember sitting through the funeral, asking myself why?

- Have you ever asked that question before? Have you ever looked to the heavens and asked why? Have you ever laid in your bed with the lights turned off, all alone and asked why? Sure you have, we all have, we all will again. Because sometimes in life things happen, things out of our control, and when those things happen, we are left with nothing but questions. And sometimes there are answers to those questions, and often there are no answers... and all we are left with is the question... why?

- Well, once upon a time, there was a certain widow from a place called Zarephat who was asking the same question. We don’t know her name, but we can read about her in I Kings 17. And in I Kings 17, we read that she is from a place just north of the Northern Kingdom. You’ll remember from last week that Elijah, who we will be looking at over the next few weeks is a prophet to the people of the Northern Kingdom, to the people of Israel. And you’ll also remember that the King of the Northern Kingdom is the wicked and evil King Ahab. And it is Elijah who went to this wicked King and delivered a message from God. And the message was simple, but deadly... "Over the next few years, there will be neither dew nor rain." And upon giving that word, that message, God sends Elijah into seclusion where food is given to him by the ravin, and water is provided by the brook.

- But then, in verse 7 of chapter 17, we read that the brook Elijah was drinking from dried up due to the lack of rain. And so it was time for Elijah to leave, and where would God send him. He would send him to the Gentile region called Zarephat where he would meet a certain widow who would provide for him. We read about their encounter in verses 8 through 16.

- And in those verses we read that Elijah was to go up to this widow and ask for some water to drink which she was more than willing to provide. But then, he asks her for some bread to eat. But, this would be a problem. And she responds to his request by saying... vs 12.

- But Elijah assures her to not be afraid, to go home and to make some bread and the Lord will provide for not only her, and not only himself, but also for her son. So she trusted and she went and made some bread, and the Lord provided food for them all. vs 15-16

- It certainly was an odd way for the Lord to provide for Elijah. Widows, during his day were as low as it gets when it comes to economic levels. They had to solely depend on the charity of others to survive. Charity was their only source of income. And yet, here is Elijah depending on her charity to survive. But sometimes the Lord provides in unusual ways, doesn’t he?

- Reminds me of the often told story of a man who found himself stuck in a terential rain storm. Eventually, the flood waters began to rise, and so the man went out on his porch and called on God to provide a way for him to escape the flood waters. Along came a boat, but the man told the captain of the boat that he was waiting on the Lord to provide a way out. And so the flood waters kept rising, so the man climbed to the top of his roof and waited for the Lord to provide an escape. Along came a helicopter, but the man told the pilot he was waiting for the Lord to provide for him. The waters were at his feet, and he kept waiting for the Lord to provide. Along came an airplane, but the man refused and said he would wait on the Lord. Well, the man drowned in the water and stood before the Lord almighty.

- And the man said to the Lord, why didn’t you rescue me from the water. I prayed for your protection, and you never answered my prayer.

- Well, obviously the Lord had provided a way. It just wasn’t a way he was expecting. But often God does this. Often when we are busy asking why? Why did this happen? Why did you allow this to take place? We miss God’s comforting hand. We miss his protection, his love, his peace. Elijah was being provided for in an unusual manner. But it was all a part of the teaching process, the learning process. God was teaching Elijah to trust in Him, no matter the situation and no matter the circumstance.

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