She bends down to pick it up with a smirk. Eyes big….grinning, she hands it to me.
Mischief is all over this kid of mine.
Its crumpled in a ball. I unravel it. It’s a page from 1 Kings. She ripped it right out of the old bread and butter copy. The red-leather book of life I’ve poured over in the dark nights and feasted on as the sun rises.
Didn’t take much though; page was holding on by a little shred and some hope. I’d been reading about that widow again. Poor woman. She’s in all kinds of drought – for food and supply and some kind of reason to keep on living. She’s planning her last meal, because she’s just given up. Sound like anyone you know? Discouragement befriends depression and they gang up all around.
The prophet, he finds her. We all want to be found…and seen.
He gives her a promise. And for no other reason than she has nothing else to do – she chooses to believe just enough to act on it. Divine supply follows her act of faith.
Then her son dies.
In the midst of obedience and evidence of the divine, real life and real hurt still happens. Obedience does not beget the easy life. Nothing really does.
So she begs, yells really, I’m sure. Angry, blaming …the very prophet who once saved her. And this is when it gets really interesting…to me. The prophet doesn’t scold her. He doesn’t defend himself. He doesn’t ignore her. He takes her pain into himself and chooses to pray as if the child were his very own.
And if….if every single story in the Word of God fits together like a string of pearls connecting us to one bigger story – yeah, WHO GOD IS – then this story is one of my very favorite keyhole squints into a very large character description.
————————-> God is not like us.
When we REACT, He RESPONDS. When we DEFEND, He is SILENT.
And though I would expect the prophet to look upon this woman with disdain for blaming him, he takes no worry with responding to her. He rushes her words to the Lord.
How many times have I done this, Lord? Gone directly to you in prayer for a sister instead of focusing on how and what and why she thinks certain things about me.
Then he takes – he TAKES the hurt into himself and lays out his body upon the boy. His actions outdo anything he could have said in defense to the woman. She SEES his heart in his action. And the sincerity of his empathy is proved in the answer to his cries for life. The boy wakes.
Miracle after miracle is found in the Word of God. In the stories of widows and prophets, prostitutes and children, wedding parties and funerals. And in each of them, an average person. An ordinary day. A long, long illness.
In every story I find myself. My brother. My neighbor.
And a God who does not change.
A boy laughed about that once. On a cold mountain in Colorado. Young souls hiking, me guiding. They were seekers, hurting, doubting a God. They’d heard it said….and quoted it well:
He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
“How boring”, he said. They chuckled.
And I thought, yeah….that steady love they’ve never known – it’s what they needed most. Our words usually cut into the wounds we hide. We can’t imagine a trustworthy God when we compare him to an fickle world.
So the prophet, he takes the boy to his Mama. What Mama isn’t reeling from some kind of anxious hope here? He is alive. And she responds: NOW I KNOW. She uses the Hebrew word aman – the principle word for truth.
It’s not truth that changes. It’s our understanding of truth.
God wants to be known. Yet, she didn’t fully trust at the first miracle. Maybe it took a bigger question, a deeper need to walk her into a faith in a BIGGER GOD.
What if every story and circumstance we walk through is a walk towards a bigger God, if only we look beyond our understanding…and just believe.