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Leading The Way - Week of October 15

  • 2012 Oct 15

Week of October 15

Painful Surprises

As we study Elijah, we learn how he stepped out in faith to follow God—first to a secluded hiding place, then to a widow's home. God blessed Elijah's spiritual risk-taking by providing for his needs, but in the midst of this time of blessing, Elijah also experienced a blasting.

As Elijah spent time with the pagan widow and her son, he was a living testimony for God. But then the widow's son died, and it seemed that his witnessing opportunity was lost. This woman who had risked much for Elijah was now at one of the lowest points in her life. Instead of seeking solace in Elijah's God, the widow cried, "What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?" (1 Kings 17:18).

Her son's death must have taken Elijah by surprise. He had faithfully followed God and was experiencing the blessings of His faithfulness. He was right in the middle of God's will and doing what God had commanded him. Then suddenly everything turned upside down.

Elijah must have felt devastated. No doubt he had grown to care for this family who took him in during the midst of a drought and famine. But God did not give Elijah a blasting only to leave the shattered pieces on the ground. Instead, God brought restoration and healing to the situation in a way in which only God Himself is capable.

After the son's death, Elijah did the only thing he could: he cried out to God in prayer. "‘O Lord my God, have you brought tragedy also upon this widow I am staying with, by causing her son to die? … O Lord my God, let this boy's life return to him!'" (1 Kings 17:20-21).

Elijah did not question God's plans in front of the widow—he was wise enough not to add to her doubts. His prayer may not be a biblical model, but he poured out his emotion and heartbreak to God. His intense prayer was all that he had left.

How did God respond to Elijah's prayer? "The Lord heard Elijah's cry, and the boy's life returned to him, and he lived" (1 Kings 17:22).

The widow had been a follower of the vindictive god, Baal. But she didn't realize that Elijah's God was using the situation for His glory. What happened when she saw her resurrected son? She said, "Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth" (1 Kings 17: 24). She witnessed firsthand the integrity of Elijah's faith under fire.

Are you experiencing a blasting? No matter what circumstances you face, God has the power to restore you. Only God can take the broken fragments of your life and turn them into something even more beautiful than before.

You may be struggling to keep your head above water. You may be questioning God and trying to reason out your circumstances; but no matter what disappointments you face, no matter what dreams have been crushed, know that God is still working in your life.

Do you have a place where you meet God on a regular basis? Do you have a place that is set aside so that when calamity strikes, you know where to go? If not, designate a place of solitude where you can meet God in prayer daily.

What have been some of the painful surprises that you have experienced in life? What have been your points of desperation? List them in your mind, and then recall how God responded during these times. How can you thank God for these responses today?

"The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective."  --James 5:16b  


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