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After the drought, for which Elijah prayed, the son of the widow who took care of him died. When he did, she got mad at Elijah for calling her sin to remembrance and slaying her son [1 Ki 17:18]. The heart of this message is in 1 Ki 17:19, where Elijah says to the widow, Give me thy son. Before we discuss this point, though, we must see some important points earlier in the passage.
You take care of God’s business and he’ll take care of yours. 1 Ki 17:13-16. The widow wasn’t a great woman of faith. Though she had been commanded to feed Elijah [1 Ki 17:9], she wasn’t preparing to feed him. She was gathering sticks for her last meal [1 Ki 17:12]. Yet, because she took care of God’s business instead of her own, God took care of her. The blessing in your life is that when you work for the Lord, God takes care of you every day. Even when you don’t recognize it or when you don’t believe it or when you may not appreciate it. God is in all those ordinary, mundane provisions of your life [Phil 4:19]. God shouldn’t have to perform extraordinary miracles in your life each day to prove he’s taking care of you.
Taking care of God’s business can be more of an inconvenience than a blessing. 1Ki 17:13. You can begin thinking that your work for the Lord is for someone else’s benefit, not yours. And you can grow weary of the demands on your time. I believe that she got the idea that this little extra food was for Elijah; not for her and her son [1 Ki 17:24]. I imagine her as a woman who never really believed there would be meal and oil every day. She’s thinking, “Any day now this thing is going to dry up.” She goes to bed thinking God is going to pull the rug out from under us sure enough. I’m just a Gentile; not worthy of God’s blessings. You worry the same way sometimes.
Now there is something going on here that is not revealed until tragedy strikes. Notice, “After these things…” [1 Ki 17:17]. Her mother’s heart gets in the way of her relationship with Elijah and with God. The widow is between God and her son. Her reaction reveals this, “God is big enough to make a little meal and oil but he is not big enough to look after my son without me.” The death of her son was about her. She blamed her sin [1 Ki 17:18]. And she was mad at Elijah, and therefore God, for it. In her heart she’s thinking, “I took care of you and this is the thanks I get?” When you’re serving God and tragedy strikes, don’t assume that it is your fault or God’s fault.
To get God’s help for your children you must trust him with them. 1 Ki 17:19. Elijah didn’t argue with the widow in her grief. He just said, “Give me thy son.” Elijah took him out of her bosom [like she was hanging on]. There was not a thing she could do. Even her prayers [none mentioned] wouldn’t help here. Her son needed God and a man of God. And she was standing between God and the boy. You can hang on to your child at a time when you need to give him/her to God.
Jesus preached about this episode in his testimony in Lk 4:24-26. I believe you will see this widow and her son in eternity. He came back revived; he came back alive [1 Ki 17:22-23].
The struggle that the widow had is like the struggle you have. God wants your children revived; and you just want them here. My prayer for our children is that they will be reconciled to God. And then I pray that they will be reconciled to us. That’s what happened to the prodigal son.
I would rather never see our children on earth again, for an opportunity to see them in heaven, than I would to see them from now on here on earth, and never get to see them in heaven. Sometimes, mothers, you hang on too long. There is something going on in your heart that you don’t even see. But we can see it in this text. Say, “God if you need to take my child up into the loft to revive him, then here, I give him to you.” Sometimes this can take years or decades.
You can feed your children and you can baby them, but you cannot turn their lives around for God. The more you insist that you can, the further they get from God. That boy needed God and he needed a man of God. Mom was out of the picture. If you will let God have your child he can bring him back alive. That is, if anybody can, God can. They don’t always come back alive. Don’t think by intervening that you can do it better than God. It’s not about you.
The part that is about you concerns your faith in God. Look, this woman didn’t have real faith until she saw God do something for her son she could never do [1 Ki 17:24]. You’ll be a lot stronger in your walk with God if you can let God spend some time with your child “in the loft.”
Conclusion: it’s not your fault when your child makes wrong decisions and it’s not God’s fault. But if anybody can help him, it’s going to be God. He’s the only one who can fix him. Our prayer is that you will have the same outcome that this widow did.