Friday, May 5, 2017

Bottle of Oil Never Ran Out

Sometimes I wonder if it is wrong to try to apply every single scripture I read to my own life instead of just reading it for what it is in a historical context and applying it generally to the world. I mean, I feel like I SHOULD be trying to apply spiritual truths learned in scripture to my own life, but what I feel like I'm trying to say is that I am so self-centered, I think everything is about ME.  And I don't think that is the best viewpoint in life.  It would serve me better to be a listener than to switch everything I hear and read and want to tell my own story about the same topic or idea.  I need to listen with the intent to UNDERSTAND instead of the intent to REPLY.

Nevertheless, my post today is about a prophet in the old testament. And I'm gonna do it again--try to apply a miracle of long-ago to my present situation.
In 1 Kings 17, the story of Elijah and a destitute widowed woman gathering firewood. Elijah goes to this woman and asks her to give him water and a little something to eat.
12 She said, “I swear, as surely as your God lives, I don’t have so much as a biscuit. I have a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a bottle; you found me scratching together just enough firewood to make a last meal for my son and me. After we eat it, we’ll die.”13-14 Elijah said to her, “Don’t worry about a thing. Go ahead and do what you’ve said. But first make a small biscuit for me and bring it back here. Then go ahead and make a meal from what’s left for you and your son. This is the word of the God of Israel: ‘The jar of flour will not run out and the bottle of oil will not become empty before God sends rain on the land and ends this drought.’”15-16 And she went right off and did it, did just as Elijah asked. And it turned out as he said—daily food for her and her family. The jar of meal didn’t run out and the bottle of oil didn’t become empty: God’s promise fulfilled to the letter, exactly as Elijah had delivered it! (MSG)
The widow doesn't even have a name. How sad is that? She had lost her husband, had the responsibility of providing for herself and her son, but she had no food, income, or hope of a future while the whole country is in a drought. She is ready for death.
And then a prophet comes along and tells her, "Don't worry about a thing." Just make me a biscuit and God will provide. Right.
She obeyed.
God fulfilled his promise to her just as Elijah said He would.

Sometimes at work I feel like I'm gonna die, that I've reached the end of my rope.  I feel like I come in with my very best, but that my best isn't good enough. I feel like I give and give and yet in return I get punished. I feel that I don't have enough power to manage those I've been given responsibility to educate, and more and more frequently I want to walk out the door and never return.

And then I read a passage in my quiet time like the one above.  The widow was working til she fixed the very last thing she had left to give when God made a way for her. She had to make one last biscuit and give it away before preparing for herself and her son, and then God took care of her needs for ever after, Amen.
Ok, I know I am not a widow. I'm not starving and jobless.  There isn't a drought.  But I can't help but want to see myself as a struggling woman in need of rescue.  And perhaps I am being told to work one more year (make one more biscuit for someone else), and then God will provide me with what I need.
Like I said, I know it is out of context.  God didn't promise it to me.   But I feel like He is big enough that if I ask Him for the help, He is able to provide it. He did it for her, he can do it for me.

In James 1, the bible says that if we lack wisdom, we should ask of God, who gives to all liberally.  I don't want to work at my current job anymore. The struggle is real. I'm not handling it well. I'm bitter against my husband for not making enough that we could survive and thrive without my income. I'm taking meds, my back hurts, I'm sleeping alot and eating even more. I've gained 10 pounds in the last month alone.
God, please help me. Give me wisdom, direction, and a promise to hold on to if I have to stay in my current situation. I need help. For real. I'm hurting. I'm scared. I'm bitter.

Image: https://img.clipartfest.com/352b15958859c0923437187a56f621a3_the-woman-uses-the-last-of-her-elijah-character-clipart-set_1024-768.jpeg

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