Reading: 1 Kings 17: 8-24
As Elijah enters into a relationship with the widow, he realizes right away that she is struggling. The famine has been long and surely this has worn on her. She has been in survival mode for some time. She is down to her last bit of food and is mentally resigned to death. Life has totally beaten her down.
There are people like the widow in almost every community in which we reside. Life has been uphill for so long that they can remember nothing but struggle. They have come to feel like it is just them against the world and no one seems to care. An added burden for some is the child or children in their care. Where they will sleep that night or if they will find food that day are their greatest and often only real concern. Their whole focus is consumed with things we do not even ponder.
The widow’s desperation and surrender are equally present in her words: “as surely as your God lives”. She must have emphasized the word ‘your’. In her mind no god would allow her to struggle as she has. In her heart and soul any and all gods have been pushed far away, pushed out by the anger at life.
There are people today who think just like the widow. You can see the exhaustion and fear in their eyes. When life is nothing but a struggle to find the basics of food and shelter, there is no room for hope.
Elijah chooses to engage the widow. He chooses to step into her life. He asks her for the one thing she San provide: a little hospitality. All people have something they can offer. Often it is just a few minutes of help – sweeping the front patio or helping organize some clothes. Sometimes it is just a few moments of conversation. In doing and sharing, people can find worth in themselves. In giving of themselves they can begin to find hope.
We can choose to engage the other or we can choose to not even look their way. We can choose to enter into a relationship with them or we can maybe choose to toss a little money their way. Or we can choose to invest of ourselves, to show one in deep struggle that we care and that God cares. May we follow Elijah’s example – engaging one whom others have ignored or shunned, loving and bringing God’s love to one so in need of hope.