Today, we will muse over the story of arguably the most popular widow in the Bible, the widow of Zarephath. Through her obedience to the instructions of the prophet of God, she experienced a miracle of epic proportions. God blessed her jar of flour and jug of oil so that her family had plenty to eat during a season of drought. (1 Kings 17).
She must have been extremely content and relieved that she and her son had been spared a painful death by starvation. It seemed as if all was going well, God had brought deliverance to her house, her faith was at an all-time high. Finally relief from famine had come and she who expected to die now had more than enough to live on, share with the prophet Elijah and perhaps her neighbors. Just when everything was as it should be her only son fell ill and died.
“Some time later the son of the woman who owned the house became ill. He grew worse and worse, and finally stopped breathing.” 1 Kings 17:17. It was not a sudden death. The same prophet who brought her the miracle was in the house, yet her only son fell sick, grew worse day after day, Elijah and his God did not do anything and then the boy died. Surely if God could multiply a little amount of food to last for years, He could heal a sick boy?
Just like we do when we hit rock bottom or things go horribly wrong or things do not happen the way we expect, the widow asked questions. Surely God must be punishing her for something? Probably God did not care enough, for why would He let her only child die? Why preserve his life through the famine only to kill him later? Oh how I wish we had answers to all these. In her desperation the widow turned to Elijah, “She said to Elijah, “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?”” 1 Kings 17:18. In the end God restored the boy to life after Elijah prayed.
No, God was not punishing the widow, neither is He punishing you. Your financial troubles, joblessness, ill health, failing marriage, inability to have children, wayward children, is not a sign that God is punishing you. Bad things will happen to us all in a fallen world but we can be sure that God is on our side and will see us through to the other side. Let us trust Him as we pray for understanding. If He does not deliver you from it, He will walk with you through it. God’s purposes for you will always stand so partner with Him through thick and thin and allow Him guide you.