“Some time later the woman’s son became sick. He grew worse and worse, and finally he died. Then she said to Elijah, ‘O man of God, what have you done to me? Have you come here to point out my sins and kill my son?’
But Elijah replied, ‘Give me your son.’ And he took the child’s body from her arms, carried him up the stairs to the room where he was staying, and laid the body on his bed. Then Elijah cried out to the Lord, ‘O Lord my God, why have you brought tragedy to this widow who has opened her home to me, causing her son to die?’
And he stretched himself out over the child three times and cried out to the Lord, ‘O Lord my God, please let this child’s life return to him.’ The Lord heard Elijah’s prayer, and the life of the child returned, and he revived! Then Elijah brought him down from the upper room and gave him to his mother. ‘Look!’ he said. ‘Your son is alive!’
Then the woman told Elijah, ‘Now I know for sure that you are a man of God, and that the Lord truly speaks through you.'” 1 Kings 17:17-24, NLT
Asking others for help is humbling and can be life changing for everyone involved. If the person you ask has little available to give, your request may seem selfish or insensitive. But what if God told you to ask that person for assistance?
Elijah had a word from God directing him to go to Zarephath, where he would meet an impoverished widow and single mother who had no way of knowing that God was about to set in motion a miracle—one that would not only provide for her needs, but also impact her faith forever.
This story plays out in three acts.
Act One. Elijah instructed the widow to use her meager supplies of flour and cooking oil to bake some bread to feed him first, then her and her son. Elijah acted with God’s assurance that there would be enough food from that day until the new rains and crops arrived (17:14). The widow followed the prophet’s instructions, and there was just enough flour and oil to meet their daily needs. The promise of God was fulfilled.
Act Two. When the widow’s son became sick and died, the desperate woman turned to Elijah for help. He carried the child to his own room, where he prayed. Elijah’s first prayer was a complaint: “Why bring this tragedy on a poor woman who is simply struggling to stay alive? How can this be fair?” His second prayer was a request: “Give back the child’s life.” And God did.
Act Three. The grieving mother was given back a healthy, living son. The woman’s response went beyond simple joy or relief—she acknowledged the activity of God in the life and words of his prophet. Elijah was obedient, willing to trust God and humble himself to ask for help, even when it made no sense. The result? An abundant provision came through an unlikely source, and a struggling woman’s faith was strengthened.