There’s a knock at the door and your heart sinks. You know that knock. It’s the hard knock of a bill collector there to ruin yet another Saturday morning. It’s the sound of bad luck catching up with your lack of faith. If the television weren’t blaring, you’d consider pretending to not be home in hopes of one more day with heat on a cold night.
A second knock assures you, you are out of time. Empty handed and out of hope, you open the door only to hear the sound of silence when your fears are realized.
As a single parent, that feeling has been all too common. Beating off the electric company and praying for the gas tank to make it one more mile has become a way of life. Staring at an empty refridgerator and praying for a miracle fills many silent nights. Yet, if God can feed 5, 000 with a couple of loaves of bread, we’ll be alright. Right?
The angry creditor banged on the door as if to be the “Big bad wolf”. There was no hiding behind the door. Silent prayers did nothing to deter his motives. He had come with warrants and was prepared to use them. Standing by calmly and allowing someone to take everything you have is never a choice made easily. For this mother, the choice was even harder.
The soil filling her husband’s grave was hardly settled. He had been a hard worker for the company of the prophets and his death had come as a shock to all. They had been a close family. With two sons, they had been a picture perfect family in the eyes of the community. Now with her husband being gone, the bills were on her as well as anything else that may pop up.
They had never really discussed the mortgage. He had taken care of everything as she cared for the home and the children. Life was good. Life has a way of pulling the carpet out from under you just to stir things up a bit. As the creditor stood pounding at her door, she prepared for war.
Elisha was ga close friend of the family. Cookouts and backyard football games were a regular Sunday afternoon event for the members of the company and their families. Holidays and special events made for many Kodak moments as the years went by. The passing of his friend marked the biggest loss the company had felt. Yet, the rain kept coming. How long would the thunder roll?
“Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two sons as slaves.” cried the widow to Elisha. (2 Kings 4:1) The panic in her voice woke Elisha out of a dead sleep. Where else was she to go? Elisha had promised his friend he would look after his wife and sons after his death. Now was the time to step up to the plate. As the tears poured down her broken face, she began to question why God would allow such a storm to take so much.
With fear in her eyes, her mind started wondering to all the possibilities. Losing her sons was more than she could bare yet she had no money to pay the creditor. There was no community auction to settle his debts, no trust fund for the children set up by his co-workers, no life insurance policy to carry them through. Her options were slim and she had but one choice…Prayer. With a husband that loved the Lord, she had learned to lean on God in such times as this.
Her cabinets were bare. The goats had become so unhealthy due to a lack of food that there was no milk left to offer. There was but a small jar of oil left in the entire house. A modern day “Martha”, Elisha reminded her of her talents….and her faith.
“Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t just ask for a few. Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars , and as each is filled, set it to one side” Elisha told the heart broken widow. (2 Kings 4:4)
She had much favor with the neighbors. Entertaining had always been a joy of hers and so going from door to door to ask for jars was right up her alley. She did as she was told and went home to prepare for rain. With the doors closed, (and the creditor tapping his foot outside the window), she went to work pouring the oil. Ribbons made each jar a perfect presentation for the bake sale on the lawn that her sons were setting up for. Card board signs were painted, direction signs were set up at each intersection, and many prayers were offered up as she poured oil into each jar.
With each jar, she feared its sufficiency. Remembering the Lord’s promise to supply all her needs, she continued pouring…and pouring…and pouring. The more jars she filled, the louder her singing became and the lighter her load.
“Bring me another jar,” she said to her son. But he replied, “there is not a jar left” (2 Kings 4:6) Instantly, her small bottle of oil was gone. Her eyes turned to heaven, she blew a kiss to her husband and a prayer of thanksgiving to her Savior.
The bake sale was a huge success like a fundraiser for a local charity. Each jar of oil was prepared with faith, hope, and a lot of love. Neighbors offered more than she asked, the company purchased enough to stock their break room, and even the creditor took a couple home. One by one, she counted out the dollars to pay their debt in full.
“…you and your sons can live on what is left.” (2 Kings 4:7) Because of her faith, and her obedience, the creditor left with a smile on his face as she and her two sons prepared dinner. Life was good.
God has promised to supply all our needs. His timing may not always be ours, but he is always on time. Even in the face of adversity, faith shines the way as we lean on the very one who has promised to hold our hand each time life takes a turn.
“We live by faith not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7)