I hope all of you will take some time this week to give thanks for the many blessings our Lord has given you. Even during the cold and dreary periods of our lives, we still have more blessings than we realize or feel. I acknowledge that finding warmth and sunshine in the midst of a job search and other challenges is more difficult for some of us than for others; and more difficult during particular times in our lives than in others.
God’s Providence – A Thanksgiving Message
On Sunday 11 November 2002 – during a cold and dreary period of my life – I spent the day sightseeing around Los Angeles. I was in the middle of a two-week training assignment in Rancho Cucamonga. In the morning I went to Mission San Juan Capistrano. You may have heard of this place because it’s where the swallows come around March 19 each year.
Mission San Juan Capistrano is named for St. John of Capistrano, Italy, who was a theologian in the 14th century. It was established 239 years ago, on 1 November 1776. It was the seventh mission founded by Father Junipero Serra. The Mission has the distinction of being home to the oldest building in California still in use – a chapel built in 1782, and now known as “Serra’s Chapel.”
The peace of God was in that beautiful place. I took my Bible and did my daily reading for the Bible study class I was taking at church. The story I read was in 1 Kings 17; the story of the widow in Zarephath, who was down to her very last meal. The scene took place near the end of a three-year drought in Israel and Judah. God sent Elijah to her town, and in a separate message, God commanded her to supply Elijah with food, which she obediently did. Why would someone give away his or her very last meal? Here’s the story:
The Widow at Zarephath (1 Kings 17:7-16)
Some time later the brook dried up because there had been no rain in the land. Then the word of the LORD came to Elijah: “Go at once to Zarephath of Sidon and stay there. I have commanded a widow in that place to supply you with food.” So he went to Zarephath. When he came to the town gate, a widow was there gathering sticks. He called to her and asked, “Would you bring me a little water in a jar so I may have a drink?” As she was going to get it, he called, “And bring me, please, a piece of bread.”
“As surely as the LORD your God lives,” she replied, “I don’t have any bread – only a handful of flour in a jar and a little oil in a jug. I am gathering a few sticks to take home and make a meal for myself and my son, that we may eat it – and die.”
Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small cake of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son. For this is what the LORD, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land.'”
She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the LORD spoken by Elijah.
God Provides to Those Who Are Faithful. Amen!
Who among us has faith as powerful as the faith of the widow? She gave Elijah some food before she fed her son and herself. Even when it seemed she had nothing left to give, she gave. Her faith was rewarded. It was just the message I needed to hear that day, because it was during a time in my life where my tank was empty. I wrote this in the margin of my Bible: “11 Nov 02 at San Juan Capistrano: God provides to those who are faithful. Amen!”
I know some of you feel that you are down to your very last meal. I’m amazed at how some of you have hung in there in the face of many, many disappointments. My message to you is this: be strong in the Lord, have faith in God, lay your cares at Jesus’ feet, and you will experience God’s peace, power, presence and protection.
Have faith that your jar of flour will not be used up and your jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on your land.
See you on Friday 4 December at JobSeekers, where we live in the abundance of God’s grace!
Copyright © 2015 / Dave O’Farrell / All Rights Reserved