Would I recognize a blessing if it showed up on my doorstep?
Before Jesus came, God spoke to people through prophets, and one of those prophets was Elijah. One day God sent Elijah to the town of Zarephath so he would be taken care of, because a great drought had devastated the land.
Elijah arrived at the gate of Zarephath hungry and thirsty (and just in time for a divine appointment). A widow was there and he asked her, “Will you bring me a little water to drink?” The widow went to do as he requested and Elijah called after her. “Bring me a piece of bread too please.”
She stopped, faced Elijah, and cut to the quick of the situation. “I swear by the Lord your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. I have one drop of oil and a handful of flour and that’s it. I was just going to use it to cook my son and me our last meal before we die.”
Harsh conditions! But Elijah was not taken aback. He did not flinch and say, “Oops sorry, never mind about the bread then.” Instead he said, “Don’t be afraid!” And “Do just as you were going to, but make my bread first. Then make some for the both of you. Because God has said that you will not run out of provisions until the crops return to this land.”
It was a strange sort of blessing God was giving this widow wasn’t it? He didn’t arrange for a strong man to show up with a giant vat of oil and a 50 lb sack of flour. I mean that would have made everything clear from the beginning right? That’s how a blessing looks right? God gives us money, a new job, a new car…
God had something different in mind.
This blessing would not be a giant one-time provision. This widow wouldn’t wake up to see (and fawn over) a full jar of oil. And she wouldn’t have to worry about anyone taking her king-sized bag of flour.
No. This blessing would be daily. And personal. Every day a little fresh flour and oil would appear, enough for her needs. God would never forget. He wouldn’t miss a day. Each morning there would be a new mercy. Each morning a gentle whisper, “Yes, my eye is still upon you little sparrow.” How sweet is that? This would be a special relationship.
I have found myself thinking about how I would have responded had I been in the widow’s situation and Elijah asked me for some bread. I feel pretty sure I would have lost it, snapped, and said something like, “You’re kidding right? My husband has been taken from me. My land has dried up. And now God wants my last meal?”
I wonder how often I have misjudged God. Been insulted by a request he made of me. A request that was meant to bless. I wonder what I have missed out on while trying to guard, what I thought was surely, my last dollar, or my last nerve, or my last bit of energy, my last hope… my last drop of oil.
Are you down to your last drop of oil? Will you be open to receiving a blessing in disguise?
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out! “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?” “Who has ever given to God, that God should repay him?” For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever! Amen. Romans 11:33-36 NIV