Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Trust God and His Love for You

I doubt there is a widow reading this who hasn’t found herself in a situation where she really needed the help of someone else. I’m not talking about a friendly ear to act as a sounding board, or a lunch companion ensuring that you won’t be alone in a crowd of strangers. No, I’m speaking of situations with much more import.

 It might be a decision you need to make, a dark time you’re going through or any number of things, but you know that you can’t do this alone and so you cry out to God for help.

A common tendency is to get specific with God as to whom it is that we think would be best to help us: “Oh, Lord, please let my brother agree to help me make the best choice of a new car. You know how vulnerable we women are when we walk unaccompanied into a dealership.” This might be your daily prayer for weeks and you’re beginning to get a little frustrated with God when your brother isn’t forthcoming.

Then, one night you ask the members of your Bible study group to pray for you as your car is no long longer reliable and you have to purchase a new one – a task that fills you with apprehension and dread. After the dismissal prayer a gentleman in the group approaches you and tells you that he manages a local dealership and would be happy to guide you through the process and assure that you get an honest deal. Two hours before this man wasn’t even a conscious thought in your head, and now he is just the person you need to assist you. No, he isn’t your brother, but he’s God’s choice and better suited to the task than your brother would have been.
 God has worked like this since before the beginning of time. God has mercifully provided for widows throughout history, and gives stern warnings to those who would want to defraud them. The Bible is replete with examples of His working on behalf of widows (and others), but I will share only three.

The first one that comes to mind is the widow most often referred to as the “Widow of Zarephath,” so named because that was the name of the area in which she lived. You th chapter of I Kings and I encourage you to read it.
talk about desperation! Because of a severe drought in the entire region, she was totally out of food except for just enough oil and flour to make bread for herself and her boy. Her prayers had run out as her food supply dwindled. She was ready to make this bread her last meal and wait for their deaths. There was another individual in dire straits, the prophet Elijah, who lived in Israel, a neighboring country. God directed him to this destitute widow from whom he asked for food. When she complied, even though it was all she had, they were both blessed with food until the drought was over. Neither of these individuals would have ever thought that they could be of help one to the other, but God did. He orchestrated their meeting and in turn used them to meet the needs of each other. This story can be found in the 17

Another widow for whom God miraculously supplied a need was Ruth. We are all somewhat familiar with her story: the devoted widow who went with her mother-in-law back to her country and ended up marrying a rich older man. But, like all stories, there’s a back-story. Ruth and Naomi were desperately poor and Ruth had to glean fields for food for them. The only way out of her poverty would be to remarry.  And, while it’s true that Boaz saw her gleaning his fields and eventually fell in love with her, he did not have first rights to marry her according to their custom. That fell to another man. Boaz knew this and went to the other man and through negotiations was able to satisfy all legal requirements freeing him to marry Ruth. Do you think it was happenstance that Ruth gleaned the fields of Boaz? He certainly wasn’t the only man with fields in that region. Do you think it was happenstance that he was attracted to Ruth and wished to marry her? Do you think it was happenstance that the relative who had right of first refusal was either too poor or didn’t want the responsibility? God was in all of this and even Naomi, who certainly would have orchestrated it if she could
have, couldn’t “pull off” what God did for this precious young widow to ensure her a means of support in her lifetime. But God didn’t stop there; through their son she was placed in the lineage of His son, Christ the Messiah. This entire story is recorded in the book of Ruth in the Old Testament and is full of all the elements of great drama. I encourage you to read it.

Even Jesus, in his hour of death, looked to the welfare of his widowed mother knowing that his death was at hand . . . and soon after his ascension into Heaven. In the 19th chapter of the book of John we read that Jesus looked down from the cross and told his mother to look to John as a son and to John he said to look to Mary as his mother. Then the Scripture says, And from that hour that disciple took her to his own home. God even looked out for the welfare of the earthly mother of His son, leaving her in the care of the gentle and beloved Apostle John.

Did you notice that none of these individuals just sat and waited for God to move on their behalf? The Widow of Zarephath did as Elijah commanded and made food and brought water to him. Ruth was busy gleaning in the fields to put food on the table for her and Naomi. She didn’t sit at home, polishing her nails and primping so she would look “just so” when God sent a husband her way. Even Mary, the mother of Jesus, didn’t give up on life just because she became a widow. We know she was still active in community life, having instructed Jesus to make wine at a wedding. We know that after his ascension she was with those gathered in the upper room to await the infilling of the Holy Spirit. These were all individuals of action, though their lives and livelihood had been greatly altered.  Genesis 41:52 records the words of Joseph, after having been sold into slavery in a foreign country by his own brothers, “God has caused me to be fruitful in the land of my affliction.”

As widows you live in a “land of affliction” over which you have no control. But how you live is a choice you make. I encourage you to not give up on living life to the fullest, just hoping that things will get better. With God’s help, keep busy and watch God bring to fruition His plan for your wholeness. As you entrust to Him your needs, sometimes in desperation, you will be amazed at how He will work in your life, often through other people. If you reflect on your life, I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised to recall the helpful individuals He has led your way at just the right time and often in a manner you wouldn’t even have considered.

Jeremiah 29:11-12 says this about our Heavenly Father and His concern for us: “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,” says the Lord, “thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon me and go and pray to me and I will listen to you.”  I pray that each of you will always recognize the great love your Heavenly Father has for you and will never fear entrusting every detail of your life to Him, for He truly cares for you.

"His Eye is on the Sparrow" by Lynda Randle
  He Will Carry You by Lynda Randle

Message "Trust God and His Love for You"
By Shari Hervold