Rise up O Widow!

If your status today is defined as “widow—a woman left alone,” God has a plan for you. You may not be a widow forever, but during your tenure in this position, may God work in and through you in ways He never could if you were married.

In Luke 4:25-26, Jesus made a powerful statement worthy of our reflection:

“But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land; and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath…to a woman who was a widow.”

Prior to this verse, Jesus tells us, “Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown.”

The insight provided here is that Elijah was not welcome in his hometown of Israel; therefore, God sent Elijah to the city of Zarephath which was 100 miles away. We know from reading more on this story in 1 Kings, that Zarephath was a city that most likely worshiped the false god of Baal. Because of this idol worship, Elijah was sent by God to let the people know that rain would not fall. This judgment lasted for three and a half years!

It’s been a few weeks into our journey of a present-day pandemic, but what if this crisis lasts for three and a half years? We all hope that after 30 days of social distancing, life will return to normal, but what is normal? Is God shaking and stilling us to uncover false security or idols we worship? We all have to ask ourselves, “Is my trust in God alone?”

Has God allowed the coronavirus to bring us to halt to consider more important aspects of life…and death?

These are matters to consider during this God-ordained worldwide sabbatical. 

Zarephath was the city of the wicked leaders of idol worship—Ahab and his evil wife Jezebel. Why did God send His prophet to the widow in the enemy’s camp? Can you imagine how Elijah must have felt when God named the destination? Like Jonah, Elijah could have been tempted to respond by running the other way. But instead, he trusted God who directed his steps to a widow—one who was commanded by God—to provide for him. She was singled out from the “many widows” in Israel. She trusted and obeyed giving her last meal away.

Ladies, I know I keep milking this story for all it’s worth, but I feel there are so many lessons to learn:

  1. Understand that this world is not our home for those who believe in Christ–we are aliens (Philippians 3:20).
  2. Let the silence speak. “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)
  3. Pay attention to what God is saying to you. God knows His public and private purpose for this pandemic. Don’t waste this crisis.
  4. Choose to be that one to act in faith. There are many widows in our world today (they’re in every family, church, and community). Will you trust that God is at work behind the scenes ordering your starts and stops?
  5. Rise up, widow of God–pray, trust, and obey! None of the widows highlighted in the Bible are recognized because of their woe-is-me identity—none. In fact, their recognition is quite the opposite. I believe there is a message for widows from the widows similar to the promise in 2 Chronicles 7:13-15,
  • Humble yourself – stop fighting God over your season of life. Accept His perfect plan for you.
  • Pray – It’s okay to lament and cry out to God.
  • Seek God – in the midst of suffering, press into God who deeply cares for you.
  • Repent – turn from idols, attitudes, people, places, or things that have separated you from God. He promises to hear from heaven and heal our land!

“If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and prayand seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to the prayer offered in this place.”