We all go through discouraging times. Valleys. Down in the valley we feel like we just can’t take another step. What’s the point? Why keep praying when it doesn’t seem like we are getting results? Deep down we know that He is still there, hearing our prayers, yet we don’t have any answers. We are still just trudging along through the deep, dark canyon with seemingly no end in sight. Friend, keep trudging! God will “show up”, on His time, not ours. Sometimes, He will visit you in the valley and other times He will deliver you from it. He will ALWAYS supply your needs, not your “wants”.
“And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. 13 And Elijah said unto her, Fear not; go and do as thou hast said: but make me thereof a little cake first, and bring it unto me, and after make for thee and for thy son. 14 For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not waste, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sendeth rain upon the earth. 15 And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah: and she, and he, and her house, did eat many days. 16 And the barrel of meal wasted not, neither did the cruse of oil fail, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by Elijah.” –I Kings 17:12-16 KJV
This woman was in more despair than most of us will ever have to face. She was widowed and had a son that she was responsible for the well-being of. She probably didn’t have any friends at all. If she did, they obviously weren’t of any account, seeing as how she and her son were about to starve to death. She had no means of income at all and had probably tried everything she could to prevent the meal barrel from becoming empty. Yet we see that when she obeyed Elijah, her meal barrel continued to sustain her and the cruse of oil never failed. One of my favorite sermons was about this meal barrel. We think, “That’s a great story! God kept her meal barrel full.” But stop and think about that for a minute. It doesn’t say anything about it being full, just says it did not waste. We would like to envision this wooden barrel that is heaping over with meal in the corner of her dirt-floored kitchen. How unrealistic! She had to have faith the next day to walk over to the meal barrel and look inside. She had just used the last of it when she cooked for Elijah, and she may have been doubtful that the promise would be fulfilled. I think it could be safe to assume that at times, she scraped the bottom of the barrel and found just enough meal for one cake. But knowing our God, there were probably also times that the barrel did run over with meal. Just like our spiritual journey, there are times when we are “at the bottom of the barrel” with just enough grace, faith and strength to go a little further. But praise God there are also times when our barrel runs over, His blessings on us flowing out in every direction. Picture this woman, long after Elijah has left, when the meal barrel is nearing empty again. She only has a cup full left in the very bottom. She goes over, scoops it all out, examining the scratches on the bottom of her barrel and wondering if God will come through for the next meal. They wake up the next morning, she goes to the barrel somewhat doubtful that there will be any meal. Then she takes off the wooden lid and sure enough there’s just another cup full of meal. Just enough. That’s really all she needs. So she returns to the barrel day after day to find just enough for the day. Then she trudges into the kitchen one afternoon, hoping there’s a little meal, and she gasps, because there’s that same old barrel but this time the lid is halfway across the floor and the meal is spilling out onto the floor in heaps.
We should rejoice that even when we are in the deepest of valleys, God will give us just enough to get us through. And when we least expect it, He will overwhelm us with His presence and love on us for a while! Never quit working for the Lord, He has never failed you! Thank the Lord that sometimes He is waiting for us at the bottom of our barrel!
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*This post is based upon a couple sermons that I have heard (and will never forget) from great men of God. If you would like a copy of those CDs, please comment below and I will happily send them to you.