Monday, January 16, 2017

1 Kings 17:12 -- On Hoping Anyway

"And she said, As the Lord thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die."
1 Kings 17:12

This woman didn't have a lot of hope.  She had enough to cook the last of her food for herself and her son... enough to get out of bed and actually try, but she didn't really know how she was going to live another day.  So, she's gathering sticks for the last meal, and Elijah asks her for a drink of water. Instead of ignoring him in her sorrow, she starts to go and get him some water.  Then, as she is going, he asks for some bread as well, and that's where this verse comes in.

After she says all this, Elijah tells her not to worry, but to make him a cake first, and then to cook for herself and her son, and he promises her that she won't run out of food until the rains return.  She believes him, and,she doesn't run out of food.  So, happy ending, right?  Except then her son gets so sick that he stops breathing.  Another hopeless situation.  But she had enough hope to go to Elijah and ask him what's up... did he save them just to punish them later?  And Elijah brings her son back to life.  The woman was in crazy sad situations, but she hoped anyway.  And she had enough hope to get her to the next step, where God could take over and help.

I think that the lesson here is that there is always hope, even when everything is going wrong and we're staring death in the face.  God is clearly stronger than starvation, and stronger than death... and he's also stronger than whatever is causing *our* hopelessness.  We talk ourselves into boxes sometimes... convince ourselves that we are trapped with only horrible choices, or too far gone, and that we're going to die, or we might as well die, or whatever it is.  But the truth is, things are never as bleak as we think they are, because God is always there, willing to help, willing to give us hope when we can't see a reason to hope.  Today, let's turn to him, knowing that he loves us and will always be there for us, even when things are at their worst, and hope doesn't seem to make sense.  Let's hope anyway.

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