Encouragement for Today - Aug. 10, 2010
August 10, 2010
"Nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil."
2 Kings4:2b (NLT)
It had been almost one year since my husband began having serious health problems. We followed the correct protocol in regards to doctors. First we went to see his general physician, followed all his instructions but nothing changed. The general physician sent us to a specialist. We followed his instructions. Nothing changed. For months we rode the roller coaster of uncertainty, hoping each new physician and medication would give us answers. All efforts were to no avail. My husband continued to have problems without solutions. My faith wavered. I believed God for a miracle, but doubted one would ever come.
The process wore us down physically, mentally, and spiritually. There were people literally all over world praying for us. Why didn't God, the Great Physician, hear the cries of His people and answer them? Why couldn't my husband have a miracle? In a last ditch effort for answers…for a miracle…my husband prayerfully went to a specialist in another city. I was unable to make the trip with him. Little did I know God had a miracle for me right here at home.
That week, I read in the Bible of a woman who was long on sorrows and short on faith. She was desperate. I saw my own story between the lines of hers. This widow's husband had accrued a debt the widow was unable to pay; authorities were coming to take her sons as slaves in order to satisfy the debt. She exercised what little faith she had by bringing her sorrows to the one person she believed could help, the prophet Elisha. Elisha instructed the woman to have her sons collect empty jars from her neighbors and, from the one flask of olive oil she had left, fill the jars then sell the oil to pay the debt. The women obeyed. Miraculously there were enough full jars of oil to pay her husband's creditors.
As I pondered on this widow's desperate plight, God instructed me to follow her example. He asked me to bring my empty jars (figuratively) to the altar at the close of the church service the following Sunday morning. I did not understand nor did I want to obey. I was long on sorrows and short on faith. Throughout the week I felt His nearness and His prompting to bring my empty jars to Him. Throughout the week I continued to tell Him no. I was scared. I did not want others to make a fuss over me at the altar. I did not want to be disappointed again.
Sunday morning came, I was still arguing with the Lord. Imagine my surprise as I heard the pastor say, "Open your Bibles to 2 Kings 4:38-44." God had arranged a miracle for me. The miracle wasn't to heal my husband, but to heal my faith, to fill my emptiness with a new faith that I would carry throughout the journey of my husband's uncertain future. At the close of the sermon, with fear and trembling I took my empty jars to the altar. The moment was personal and precious. It was as if I was the only one in the sanctuary with the Lord. He met me there and made me faith-full.
Do you desire to be faith-full today? Are you long on sorrows and short on faith? Gather your empty jars and take them to the only One who can help you. The Lord will meet you there. It will be personal and precious. He will fill your jars with enough faith to get you through the known and the unknown. Only God can make you faith-full.
Dear Lord, sweet Jesus. I believe in You. Today, help me believe You. I bring You my empty jars of faith asking You to make me faith-full. I don't want to be a woman long on sorrows, short on faith any more. I know You are the only One who can help me. Help me know You are good. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
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When Life and Beliefs Collide: How Knowing God Makes a Difference by Carolyn Custis James
Gather your empty jars and take them to the only One who can help you. Go to "the altar" in your kitchen, beside your desk, in the park, or wherever you are. Give Him your uncertain future, your desperate present, and the failures of your past.
What fear are you struggling with today?
Why is it difficult for you to bring your emptiness to God?
Do you believe God can make you faith-full?
Genesis 15:6, "And Abram believed the Lord, and the Lord counted him as righteous because of his faith. (NIV)
Hebrews 11:6, "And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him." (NIV)
James 2:14, "What good is it, dear brothers and sisters, if you say you have faith but don't show it by your actions?" (NIV)
© 2010 by Wendy Pope. All rights reserved.
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