Widows in the Face of Pandemic

It is understandable that you would be afraid with all that is going on in the world concerning the coronavirus and uncertainty surrounding it. My goodness, overnight it seems our world has been consumed with a pestilence that has potential to take us all down if we don’t take the proper precautions. We’ve never washed our hands so much in all our lives! And for the first time in my 60 years, social distancing is a reality. Could this end the era of the handshake?

I preach it a lot, but this is a time where perspective really matters. Fear is often an unhealthy companion for the widow while faith is your best friend. There are lessons to be learned in every season of life, even in crisis. Throughout Biblical history, it’s trying times like these that God chooses to use widows.

Remember back to the widow of Zarephath (Widow Z) in 1 Kings 17. There was a famine like no other in the land. In fact, “pandemic” would have defined the circumstances. Widow Z, preparing her last meal, knew that once her dinner was digested death was inevitable for her and her son. Her future felt bleak as she exclaimed, “I am gathering a few sticks that I may go in and prepare for me and my son, that we may eat it and die” (1 Kings 17:12). Can you imagine the frailty of body and the fear she felt for herself and her family?

Furthermore, at Widow Z’s exact moment of worry and weakness, the prophet Elijah arrived on the scene requesting that she bake him a cake before serving herself. What a bold directive!

Elijah said to her,

Do not fear; go, do as you have said, but make me a little bread cake from it first and bring it out to me, and afterward you may make one for yourself and for your son. For thus says the LORD God of Israel, ‘The bowl of flour shall not be exhausted, nor shall the jar of oil be empty, until the day that the LORD sends rain on the face of the earth” (1 Kings 17:13-14).

Elijah knew that God is a promise keeper. His Word would come to pass.

The coronavirus has created not only a new term for most of us—pandemic—but a situation unlike anything we have ever experienced. Pantries are stocked with beans and toilet paper, yet we are constantly wondering, do I have enough?

Fear makes us think we are alone; faith confirms that God is there.

Precious friend, at this time when the world as you knew it seems like it’s coming to an end, you must know that God has a special place in His heart for widows. He’s made covenants just for the widow and fatherless that He promises to keep! Fear shouts that you have no protection; faith promises that God will defend.

Scripture tells us that prior to that point in Widow Z’s story, Elijah had been forewarned, “Then the word of the LORD came to him, saying, “Arise, go to Zarephath, which belongs to Sidon, and stay there; behold, I have commanded a widow there to provide for you” (1 Kings 17:8). God had commanded a widow to provide for him, and she did exactly that! Of course, the Lord didn’t speak with a bellowing voice from heaven: “Widow Z, prepare food for the man of God,” but rather he was at work behind the scenes in her life. God is always at work.

She gave her last morsel of food to a man, most likely a stranger, and not only that, she provided his lodging for the next two years. I have meditated on this story a lot through my two-decade tenure as a widow. However, as I stop and ponder her today, I am encouraged and challenged again!

Do I allow fear to be my companion or do I choose faith as my valued friend? Will I anticipate the work of God even during this pandemic?

We know that Widow Z was not of the household of faith, but in that moment, faith defined her actions. A moment that would change history. A moment that would eventually save her country. A moment that God used to bring her to saving faith in Elijah’s God, the one true God. A moment that should inspire us all to respond to this international crisis in the same manner, in faith.

My prayer is that widows would rise to the call that God has on our lives, even in this troubling time! I don’t know what it is going to look like for you or for our country, but God has given us many examples of widows who have modeled faith in crazy circumstances.

May we be like Anna who gave her life to prayer. May we be like the widow who gave all her financial means away. May we be like the Widow Z and live life in obedience to God no matter the cost.

In Luke 4:26, Jesus reminded us that there were many widows in the land, but Elijah was sent to her. I wonder why? Perhaps God knew she would act in faith. Or perhaps God knew the ultimate purpose behind the crossing of their paths—to bring her to faith in Christ.

Ladies, there are many widows in the world today. Let’s be that one who puts her trust in GodPerhaps we may discover that seasons of uncertainty prove to be the best time to be a widow because of God’s special care.
1. Place your focus and center your perspective on God’s Word
2. Don’t discount your position as a widow during this crisis—trust and obey
3. Pray
4. Choose faith over fear
5. Expect the miraculous