“The bin of flour was not used up, nor did the jar of oil run dry, according to the word of the LORD which He spoke by Elijah.” (I Kings 17:16, NKJV)
Yesterday I organized the shelves of my pantry, checking expiration dates and organizing my canned goods by food types. I’m one of those people who likes to keep a supply of non-perishable foods and other household items on hand “just in case.” (Let’s just say the toilet paper shortage of 2020 did not affect me at all.) I do understand that not everyone has my “stockpile mentality” or perhaps even the resources to stock up. That was the case of the widow from Zarephath mentioned in I Kings 17. God had stopped the rains, and she had no food.
The prophet Elijah, directed by the Lord, arrived in Zarephath just as a widow was gathering sticks to make her last few bites of bread with the last scoop of flour and last few drops of oil. Then she and her son would wait to die. The situation seemed hopeless. “Make me something first,” the prophet told her, “and God will do the rest” (my paraphrase).
How much faith did it take for the woman to obey the words of the prophet and give the first bread to him rather than her hungry son, a mother’s natural instinct? After that first day’s miracle of sufficiency, did she worry each morning if there would be enough for that day also? Or did she learn to trust that God would supply each day’s needs as it came?
I see nothing in the story that would cause me to think there were suddenly barrels of grain and vats of oil stocked in her pantry. I believe every morning when she woke, she saw a small handful of meal and a little bit of oil. The pantry was still bare, but every day God provided sufficient for that day. She didn’t have to look back, hoping for something left over from yesterday. Or look ahead, worrying about tomorrow’s needs before tomorrow came. She learned to expect God’s provision day by day—and she was never disappointed.
Philippians 4:19 assures us that “God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” God’s promises never fail. He may not fill the pantry full today to take care of several months. He may ask you to have faith as He supplies your needs a day at a time. That’s what the children of Israel discovered as they gathered manna day by day while in the wilderness. But what they gathered was always sufficient!
In Matthew 6:11, Jesus taught us to pray, “Give us this day our daily bread.” But what we sometimes expect is for God to send a whole bread truck to our house so we can sit back and relax for days to come. Yes, He can send more than enough to fill the pantry—or He may wait to see if we can trust His sufficiency one day at a time.
When trouble comes knocking at your door, can you trust that God’s grace is sufficient for today’s problems without worrying about what may happen tomorrow? God promised Paul in II Corinthians 12:9. “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” It’s sufficient—enough to give you what you need now. When tomorrow arrives, it will still be sufficient.
Just as God knew the need of the widow, He knows your situation as well. It may be financial, health, or other circumstance that seems hopeless. Can you trust Him today without borrowing worry for tomorrow? He wants you to trust His sufficiency.
“And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.” (II Corinthians 9:8, ESV)