Then the Lord said to Elijah, “Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.”
So he went to Zarephath. As he arrived at the gates of the village, he saw a widow gathering sticks, and he asked her, “Would you please bring me a little water in a cup?” As she was going to get it, he called to her, “Bring me a bite of bread, too.”
But she said, “I swear by the Lord your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.”
But Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son. For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!”
So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her family continued to eat for many days. There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah.
(1 Kings 17:8-16)
When Elijah first went to Sidon to the foreign widow’s home, she expressed desperation and doubt. When she met Elijah, she thought she was preparing her last meal. But a simple act of faith produced a miracle. She trusted Elijah, did as he asked, and gave her food to him. Then she discovered the Lord’s sustaining provision for her and her son.
Later, the death of her son brought her to a crisis of faith as she faced her sins. Again, her trust in Elijah was rewarded as her son regained life. Her story, which began with desperation, ends with an affirmation of God’s power and presence.
Faith is the step between promise and assurance. Miracles seem so out of reach for our feeble faith. But every miracle, large or small, begins with an act of obedience based on faith. We may not see the solution until we take the first step of faith because God offers help where we least expect it. God provides “a pathway no one knew was there!” (Psalm 77:19). When we put our faith in God for small things like a meal, we will be more ready next time to put our faith in him for big things—like life.