The widow was left alone to tend the farm. Her husband and son had died in the war and now she alone had to bring in the harvest. She could hire laborers, but there was no money to pay them. She needed the produce to make it through the winter and buy seed for the spring.
Still reeling with grief, she lacked the energy and desire to finish the task. How could she manage the harvest? Why had God left her to weather such an impossible storm?
Adversities, and the problems we find within them, often suck the air right out of us. We see a mountain before us and cannot see any way around it, and the thought of climbing it is overwhelming. It is beyond our strength. We spend nights awake filled with worry. Stressed, we forget God is aware of our circumstances and has the power to help, if we but cry out to Him and TRUST.
“It is not my ability, but my response to God’s ability that counts.” ~ Corrie ten Boom
In reality, in this life many of the things we face are beyond our strength. God designs circumstances with the hope that we will cry out to Him for assistance. He wants us to rely on Him. As our Creator, “He knows our frame; He remembers that we are dust.” Psalm 103:14 (NKJV) We can either let the trial crush us, or ask God to strengthen and help us overcome the foreboding obstacle.
Self-pity will always interfere with success. We cannot move forward if we are determined to remain stuck in self-absorbed unhappiness, complaining about how unfair God has been. When self-pity strikes our focus has switched from God to self.
This is not to say Jesus frowns on our sorrows and grief. He understands our pain. After all, He WAS “A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” (Isaiah 53:3)
When life is especially challenging, we should pause and consider what it is that God is trying to teach us. As God tested Abraham to see if his faith was true, He will test ours as well. The refining fire of adversity brings impurities to the surface and, therefore, strengthens our faith.
Abraham trusted God with the promise he had been given regarding Isaac. He respected and believed in the sovereignty of God. He knew God never lied, and that nothing was impossible for the Creator of the universe. We may not understand the whys of God’s requests of us, but if we understand and grasp the depth of His love, we will obey every one of His commands (hopefully without hesitation).
“By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises offered up his only begotten son, of whom it was said, ‘In Isaac your seed shall be called,’ concluding that God was able to raise him up, even from the dead, from which he also received him in a figurative sense.” Hebrews 11:17-19 (NKJV)
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)
Back to the widow….
Overcome with the task of bringing in the harvest she cried out to God for help. She could not see an answer to her problem, but decided to trust God with the solution. Her grief was still monumental, but she knew she had to go on. There was more God wanted to do through her, for His glory.
The next day, a homeless family with four teenaged sons and a daughter arrived at the widow’s doorstep asking for food. She told them to help themselves to the fruit and vegetables in the fields. A little later, the entire family again appeared on her doorstep. They told her they were weary from their travels and needed shelter for the winter. They asked if they could sleep in her barn if they worked her fields. The wife and daughter offered to help her can the produce while the men harvested.
In the end, the homeless family and widow grew very close. They became her adopted family and her home became their home. She was able to share Christ with them, explaining how they had been an answer to prayer. So what appeared hopeless one day became a blessing for many the next. God was given glory and saints were added to the Kingdom of God, for the family accepted Christ into their hearts.
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28 (NIV)
Within every trail, there is a test and an opportunity to learn. Trust God to provide for your needs. Accept His sovereignty. His ways are often confusing, but we are not called to understand the mind of God. We are called to trust His promises, obey His Word, and love others as ourselves. Keeping our eyes focused on God, and not our circumstances, will move us through trials and reveal unexpected lessons and blessings.
“Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name!
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from destruction,
who crowns you with lovingkindness and tender mercies, who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s. The Lord executes righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the children of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in mercy.” Psalm 103:1-8 (NKJV)