"Your servant has nothing there at all," she said, "except a little oil." - 2 Kings 4:2b
In this story in 2 Kings, Elisha has encountered a lady whose husband was a faithful servant of God but is now dead. Because of his outstanding debts, his creditors are headed to her house to take her sons as slaves to offset that debt. And just like us, her words are probably filled with anger, bitterness and sarcasm because of this situation and circumstance. In today's verbiage, she probably would have said something like "my husband followed God and look what THAT got him! Now what am I supposed to do?"
As Christ followers, we have all been close to this point in the past or possibly right in the middle of a similar situation today. It could be a sick child; the sudden loss of a job that has created a financial mountain to appear; maybe a health diagnosis that you never saw coming; possibly like this situation, the sudden and tragic loss of a loved one. Regardless of the circumstance, you have probably felt - or are today feeling - abandoned by the God you serve. And just like this widow, have probably said something like, "where are you now GOD!?!"
Looking back over many of the miracles that God performed in both the Old and New Testament, those miracles were done because simple people like you and I were willing to let go of the bitterness and anger of their individual situation; or they were willing to let go of what few possessions they were holding on to, and trust God for the outcome.
As I've mentioned several times in the past few months, God has been working in our lives since Friday, July 13, 2018 and has been sanding out rough spots, buffing and shining up places that had started to dull and show us that there is so much more to this walk of faith. It would have been so easy to stay in a place of anger. It would have been so easy to stay focused on the hurt. It's been a journey to walk through the rooms of my heart and have conversations with God that go something like this:
"I'll take that," God says as he points to the anger in my heart.
"Really! If I hold onto that, it helps me justify some things," I say.
"I know. That's why you need to let it go. Give it to me," God continues. "Oh, I need that also," as he points to the pride and humility in the corner of my heart that helps define who we are at times.
"Wait! I can't give that up! That helps create the veneer and facade that I hide behind at times and lean on to say that everything is going GREAT," I tell Him.
"I know. You need to lean on me," my Father says. "You need to learn that I am all you need. You need to trust that I know about every one of your needs and I will provide for you."
And every time that I've trusted Him with a little more of the corners of my heart, He has shown up through other people that have been His hands and feet. Just like Elisha did for this widow.
I find it interesting that in 2 Kings 4, Elisha did not ask "what can I do to make it better" or "let me go and pay off your debts." Elisha asked this widow, "what do you have in the house?" Her quick, immediate and knee-jerk response was "NOTHING!" After a brief pause and possibly a mental scan through the house, she replied "oh yeah, I have a little oil." Although the scriptures don't say this, there was probably a hint of attitude that put into words would be "but what can we do with a little oil?"
It's my belief that God wants each and every one of us - like this widow - to have some skin in the game by giving up some of those things that we hold onto that we feel are valuable to us; those things that help us justify our feelings or those possessions that we think create our worth and value.
As we read through verse 7 in this chapter, we see that God does an amazing miracle when this widow willingly gives her only possession of value to God. God uses this tiny bit of oil to alter the course of her and her son's lives, but she had to be willing to trust God for the outcome. Maybe this is where you are today. Maybe you've had your world turned upside down and you have a death grip on the few pieces of your life that you think have value.
Looking forward instead of behind, God is calling out to you today and saying "Let it go. Give it to me. Surrender that little bit of oil to me that you're holding onto and I will provide for you." Here's what you need to understand - God knows where you are today and what you need today more than you will ever know. Trust Him today and watch as He ultimately fills your jars to overflowing. It may not happen today. It may not happen tomorrow. But He is working behind the scenes to turn Beauty to Ashes in your life.
He did it for this widow; He's doing it for me - And He'll do it for you!