Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“And moreover, some women of our company astounded us and drove us out of our senses. They were at the tomb early in the morning! But did not find His body; and they returning saying that they had even seen a vision of angels, who said that He was alive.”
“I am He that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore.”
“Have you heard this tale – the best of them all –
The tale of the Holy and True,
He dies, but His life, in untold souls lives on in the world anew;
His seed prevails and is filling the earth, as the stars fill the sky above.
He taught us to yield up the love of life,
For the sake of the life of love.
His death is our life, His loss is our gain;
The joy for the tear, the peace for the pain.”
Today’s Study Text:
“And Elisha said unto her, ‘What shall I do for thee? Tell me, what hast thou in the house?’ And she said, ‘Thine handmaid hath not anything in the house.’”
“Nothing In The House”
“Do not be self-sufficient but place your trust in God.”
Thomas á Kempis
If God asked me, “What do you lack in your house,” what would my answer be?
What is the “nothing” that makes me feel as though I live in lack?
“What do you have that you did not receive? The answer doesn’t require higher math – it’s nothing! Everything that we have fits in the category of received.”
James Mac Donald
“All we need, He supplies”
Evan Henry Hopkins
Definition of “Nothing”: No thing. Not significant. Something or someone of no consequence. No existence.
Definition of “Nothing” in Hebrew: A nonentity. Without. To not exist.
Definition of “Nothing” in Greek: Not even one.
As you’ll see above, I decided to share with you, three definitions of the word “nothing.” I did this for a reason. It is because the story of the widow in II Kings 4 comes to a tragic point when this desperate woman expresses her despair because she has absolutely “nothing.” Or so she thinks.
Here’s the situation as described in Today’s Study Text. The prophet Elisha, after hearing about the financial predicament this widowed mother found herself in, immediately responded. As F. W. Krummacher writes: “The prophet, pitying at once this pious, but afflicted and widowed mother, finds himself at the same moment Divinely commissioned to wipe away her tears, and to cause her heart to sing for joy; and he said, ‘What shall I do for thee! Tell me, what hast thou in the house.’”
It was at this moment, when the mother surveyed what was in her home, that she said, “Nothing!” And just to be clear, in tomorrow’s devotional, we’ll find out that at first, even the “oil” appeared to fit under the title of “nothing.” But as I read this story again, another thought came to my mind which I didn’t find reflected in any of the written materials I’ve been studying.
The thought was borne out of my personal experience. After our car accident, it appeared during the first 24 months that our world, as we had known it, was caving in “big-time.” The physicians said we couldn’t work and travel as we had in the past. This really was a blow to our company because for the first twenty years I had been responsible for all the sales of new business. I’d done all the client budgeting and worked out all the client strategy. What’s more, at the time of the accident, we had only one car and now it was totally destroyed. We had no car. Our insurance company, after only four months said they were through paying. Our list of problems at that time could go on and on. One day, alone with my thoughts, after arriving back at our home, I decided to make one of those “nothing” lists. You may have one, too. And if not right now, at some other point in your life, you may feel that you have nothing. On one side of a piece of paper, I wrote down all the things I “lacked” and on the other side, all the things I “had,” Guess what? The “have” side was twice as long as the “lacking” side, even though, when I first began this exercise, I actually found myself in the “nothing-world” of the widow.
For a moment, however, I want to list for you what the widowed mom had, even when she said she had nothing.
- The memory of years with a devoted man of God as her husband and her boys’ father. She was married to a “man of God.” What a blessing.
- She had the fellowship of the individuals at the School for the Son’s of the Prophets.
- She had the reliability of a Godly leader and helper, Elisha.
- She had two wonderful sons who, as we will find out, were obedient young men.
- She had a roof over her head.
- She had her own health and faith.
- Most of all, she had the listening ear of her heavenly Father.
Now let us list what she “lacked.” As I thought about it, she lacked one thing – money to pay a debt. That’s it. Let’s balance this lack against the list of what she had. Seems the weight is heavily in favor of all she had right in her own hands – right in her own life – right in her own home.
Whenever you feel you have “nothing,” I encourage you to do a little list creating – and a little math, too!
I’ve found myself doing this on more than one occasion when I feel overwhelmed by the roadblocks or barriers or apparent deficiencies in my life. In fact, I’ve even gone a step further and that is to make a list of all the times my “Giver” has stepped up and surprised me with more than I asked for and more than I could imagine.
One author I read many years ago observed that we would do well to constantly keep before our eyes the many blessings that have been bestowed upon us each day. Air to breathe. Rain that waters the earth. The sun in the sky. The moon and stars. These are the basics. And most wonderful of all, when we are facing hardships that are unfair and challenge our faith, our heavenly Father is always there. A never failing friend.
While studying for today’s devotional, I came upon a terrific piece written by Reverend Virginia C. Thomas called “Missed Miseries!” These words of wisdom gave me something else to reflect upon, especially when I think that there’s “nothing” in my house.
“When we are busy bemoaning some dreadful hardship that has befallen us, it would be a help to write down all those other dreadful hardships – the ones we lie awake dreading, the ones that never happened. Then, as we ready this long, long list of all the nasty things that never happened, we might praise and thank You, Lord, for these blessings and ask You to forgive us. For we trust our lives into Your hands and then snatch them back again, to lie awake as we dread the next hardship that may never come.”
The Kindly Screen
“Today is hard. Tomorrow will
Be harder still…
Yet God has kindly placed between,
A three-fold screen
Of sunset sky, sleep’s downy wings,
And dawn that sings,
That I may face with tranquil heart
Each day apart.”
Belle Chapman Morrill
God Of Our Life
“God of our life, through all the circling years,
We trust in Thee;
In all the past, through all our hopes and fears,
Thy hand we see.
With each new day, when morning lifts the veil,
We own Thy mercies, Lord, which never fail.
God of the past, our times are in Thy hand;
With us abide.
Lead us by faith to hope’s true Promised Land;
Be Thou our guide.
With Thee to bless, the darkness shines as light,
And faith’s fair vision changes into sight.
God of the coming years, through paths unknown
We follow Thee;
When we are strong, Lord, leave us not alone;
Our refuge be.
Be Thou for us in life our Daily Bread,
Our heart’s true Home when all our years have sped.”
Hugh Thomson Kerr
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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