The Widow of Zarapheth
Have you ever come to a place of utter desperation? Maybe financial problems plaguing you. Maybe a separation or divorce. Maybe dealing with a wayward child, or dealing with a potentially terminal illness. Days, weeks and months go by as you do all you can, in your own strength, to handle the issue that never seems to come to resolve. You come to the end of yourself – the desperation has overtaken you.
There’s a story of a widow who lived in the town of Zarapheth with her young son. They were dirt poor and starving to death. She was hopeless and contemplating suicide. Holding on to her son tightly, she called out to God as a last resort; her pleas returned to her like a boomerang.
Whether believing in God, or not, everyone eventually prays for help. Someone came alongside the widow and prayed for her, standing in the gap for her and her needs. Her prayers were answered. No doubt she was grateful for her blessing; it saved her son’s life as well as her own.
Sometimes, when we believe all hope is lost, that can be the moment God steps in and answers our prayers – rarely the way in which we expected. Once there is a resolution, even if its not exactly what we were hoping for, our peace returns to us, or, for the person who doesn’t believe in answered prayers – a type of homeostasis returns.
The widow and her son lived on for some time, enjoying everyday life. Some time later, her son became seriously ill. Her faith was again lost. Forgotten was the answered prayer of the past. All focus remained on her very dark and present situation.
So often people quickly forget that hope is real and mustn’t be forsaken. Hope is something we need to breathe in – it’s a living thing inside us that needs nurturing. Hope is alive. It's something we need to survive. Hope is the anchor, the anchor of faith that we all need in our lives.
The widow gave up hope as her son came sank closer to death. She lashed out in anger. She lost her hope. But God, once again, made a believer out of her. How many times have our cries resulted in our tears being wiped away, only to find that at the next crossroad, we keep taking the same left turn over and over again.
What is the answer to remain at peace always and filled with hopeful expectation? “This hope [this confident assurance] we have as an anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whatever pressure bears upon it]—a safe and steadfast hope that enters within the veil [of the heavenly temple, that most Holy Place in which the very presence of God dwells].” Hebrews 6:19 Amplified.
Stand firm. Believe. Hope. Give thanks.