My dad once said that he was thankful to God when he hit rock bottom because it gave him the relief of knowing that things could only get better. Have you ever felt that way? Like you’re exhausted from the daily struggle to continue on with life sometimes? Do you ever feel stuck, or like life would be so much better if this ONE thing you’ve been waiting for would magically fall into place?
We all face situations in our lives when we are unsure of how we should proceed to the next step. I want to remind you today of the story of a woman who was trapped in a situation that seemed to have no happy ending. Her husband passed away leaving her heavily in debt to someone, and the man who lent him the money was coming to take her two sons as slaves for payment. Talk about hitting rock bottom!
The wife of a man from the groups of prophets said to Elisha, “Your servant, my husband, is dead. You know he honored the LORD. But now the man he owes money to is coming to take my two boys as his slaves!”
Elisha answered, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?”
The woman said, “I don’t have anything there except a pot of oil.”
Then Elisha said, “Go and get empty jars from all your neighbors. Don’t ask for just a few. Then go into your house and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and set the full ones aside.”
So she left Elisha and shut the door behind her and her sons. As they brought the jars to her, she poured out the oil. When the jars were all full, she said to her son, “Bring me another jar.” But he said, “There are no more jars.” Then the oil stopped flowing.
She went and told Elisha. And the prophet said to her, “Go, sell the oil and pay what you owe. You and your sons can live on what is left.”
(2 Kings 4:1-7)
Here we see a poor widow who is in a desperate situation. In her pain and poverty she did the only thing she knew she could do: she turned to the Lord. When we are in a situation that seems to have no solution, remember that God has a plan for our problems. Just as God took care of this widow, He promises that He will always take care of us. God knows our problems. He knew that the widow was in debt and had no way to pay her bills. He knew that she was both mourning her husband and in agony over the fact that her children would be made slaves to pay off his debt. When we are in the deepest valleys of our lives, we have to hold on to the promise that God stands solid behind us. Nothing we experience will be wasted. It will all be used for our good—to make us stronger, to make us walk closer to Him, to give us a more loving heart. In our greatest pain we need to lean only on God. He’s using our weakness to do His work in and through us, building trust, so that His purpose for each of our lives can be fulfilled. We see in this passage that in spite of all her problems, the widow still held firm in her faith. She needed help, but she did not turn to her family or her friends. She did not try to find someone to lend her more money. In her desperation she turns to the man of God for help.
Even though she couldn’t see a way out, she knew that she couldn’t see everything. She cried out to the Lord in faith because she understood that He was the only one that could meet her need. While our problems may seem to be unbeatable in our eyes, they are really just opportunities to trust the Lord and grow in our faith. Whatever we are called on to face in this life, we have to learn to turn to the Lord first for the help we need.
Elisha instructed the widow to go to her neighbors and get as many empty jars as she could find. After she collected the jars, she was instructed to fill them up from the pot of oil she had in her house. This must have seemed like a ridiculous request to the widow, but the Bible tells us that she went into her house and poured the oil into the jars. The oil flowed until the jars ran out. When the day was done, every single jar was filled up. There was no limit on the amount of oil. The only limit was on the amount of jars. God’s provision had no limits in the widow’s case and it has no limits in your case! This widow got her happy ending. Not only were her debts paid off, but she also had money left over to sustain her family. God is always able to meet every need, move every mountain, and solve every problem. His provision is limited by nothing but our faith.
God does not waste the pain in our lives. Every one of our problems can be used for His glory and our good if we are willing to submit to His plan and purpose for our lives. We rarely understand how God is using struggles in our lives to refine us.
If you’re heading towards rock bottom today, I want to encourage you to turn to the Lord and bring your empty jars before Him. Let Him show you how He can make rock bottom the perfect backdrop for miracles in your life. Just because we don’t understand the struggles that we go through in our lives doesn’t mean He’s not using them. He is. Bring your biggest struggle to Him today, and let Him miraculously handle it!