TRUSTING IN GOD’S PROVIDENCE
1 Kings 17:10-16, Hebrews 9:24-28, Mark 12:38-44
Trust is simply a conviction in the ability of somebody or something. Oxford Dictionary says it is simply having confidence in somebody, to believe that somebody is good, honest and sincere, and you can rely on him or her. When somebody says I trust you; it simply shows that He has strong confidence in the person. He knows what he/she can and cannot do. I remembered a day I attended a send forth party organized by a school, the Principal called up a student to give a speech which was quite impromptu. I told the principal to scrape off the welcome speech or do it by himself but he immediately responded to me “I trust him, I know what he can do” and to my surprise, the student did not disappoint. The Principal trusted his abilities, qualities, confidence and intelligence. Trust entails knowing and believing what one can do. This is exactly the picture of what happened in the readings of today.
When God sent Elijah to Zarephath of Sidon to sojourn with a poor widow during the “great famine,” when the “heaven was shut up three years and six months” ( Luke 4:26 ; 1 Kings 17:10 ), how might the great prophet feel about this? Sending him to a poor widow, at a time of great famine would have been the great punishment of all times. God would have sent Elijah to a wealthy man in the town, or send manna from heaven as usual. I was expecting Elijah to ask God “why me? Why to a widow and at this time of suffering? Oh no? God you hate me. But Elijah looked beyond these and trusted on the One who is sending him, and something good came out of it. How many of us have been sent to a place they do not want, a school they do not intend to study, a course they think is dry, how many of us have been surrounded by depressing situations, and yet forget to look beyond and focus on the One who is steering the wheel? Only God knows why you are where you are. Look beyond where you are to the One holding your palms.
The Widow’s Faith
I have been puzzled at the reason God sent Elijah to a widow in need. May be God wanted to use Elijah to change the conditions of this woman, for I know there may be other avenues to feed Elijah. Secondly if am not mistaken that woman must have been a giver. There must be a special virtue in the woman that attracted God to her because I know she might not be the only widow in the town and not even the only poor person in Israel, so why her? She must have been generous. She could have told Elijah to leave her vicinity; she might have paid deaf ears to Elijah’s request. Her attitude to Elijah first of all projected her hidden qualities. Something struck me when I read where Elijah said that her pot will never run dry; oh my God, imagine a beggar telling me my Pot will never run dry, and then why not do it for yourself? But she looked beyond these and trusted in what God said. Her generous heart and her deep trust in God’s providence (for Elijah says in verse 14 “for this is the word of the Lord….) changed her condition.
She gave all she had
In the gospel Jesus was gladdened at the heart at what a poor widow did. She gave all she had. Somebody that gave all she had, what was she thinking? Does she want to starve? Don’t you think she is out of her mind? Where can she get the money to feed? Even to transport herself back? This woman must have been motivated by something, it is not all about giving or giving from the heart, she knew deep inside her heart that she is giving all she had to God. This may not be the first time she is doing this. That woman must have trusted in God completely. That was what I saw in the heart of the little Isaac in Genesis 22:8 when Abraham replied him that “God will provide the lamb for sacrifice” not knowing he is to be the victim of the sacrifice. Isaac would have laughed off the joke. For me it is a joke. How can you say God will provide, “will God send lamb from heaven? But young Isaac never questioned the father. Faith expressed here is not just for Abraham alone but Isaac. The woman who gave all she had knows Who she was giving her offering, not just to any person but God. She exercised complete trust and gave all she had. That was what gladdened the heart of Jesus.
If you want to serve, work or do something for God, do it out of complete faith and confidence in God, not grudgingly nor because of the demands of a certain position or responsibility, don’t just give hoping to receive in return. The God you serve will never forsake you. Do not just give for anyone to praise you, do not give because you are giving for a church project, give because of the faith of you have in God. Give that it is God you are offering your gift. Whenever you are at the place of work, do not complain whether something is coming out or not; give all you have: your talents, energy and time because you are doing it for God, and He will never forsake you. Let the love and confidence you have in God motivate all you do.
The offering of the poor widow gladdened the heart of Jesus; the charitable gesture of the woman of Zarephath changed her condition. Look beyond what you see now, look beyond your present predicament to the One Who loves and provides for you, just like Elijah, the widow of Zarephath and the poor widow did. Such gladdens the heart of God. They trusted in Gods providence and God didn’t disappoint.
Fr. Sanctus Mario www.sanctusmario.com