By Rev Angela C Bosfield Palacious
There are several biblical passages in which we see how God blesses in difficult times:
- God’s provision comes in an amazing way to a poor widow and the oil (I Kings 17: 16 & 2 Kings 4:6 NIV): “Elijah said to her, ‘Don’t be afraid. Go home and do as you have said. But first make a small loaf of bread for me from what you have and bring it to me, and then make something for yourself and your son.’ For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the Lord sends rain on the land.’”
She went away and did as Elijah had told her. So there was food every day for Elijah and for the woman and her family. For the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry, in keeping with the word of the Lord spoken by Elijah.
In Mark 12:42 great trust in God is displayed even when there is no immediate change of the situation in the story of the widow’s mite: “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.’ They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”
Dorcas and her gifts (Acts 9:36) remind us that others are the means used by God to bring relief. Peter went with them, and when he arrived he was taken upstairs to the room. All the widows stood around him, crying and showing him the robes and other clothing that Dorcas had made while she was still with them. She is brought back to life and continues her ministry, I am sure.
One of my favourites is the well-known passage recording Habbakuk’s words of trust and joy in the midst of his trouble: “Though the fig tree does not blossom, and no fruit is on the vines; though the produce of the olive fails, and the fields yield no food; though the flock is cut off from the fold, and there is no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will exult in the God of my salvation. God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, and makes me tread upon the heights.”(Habbakuk 3: 17-19 NRSV)
Just about all of us have known times of personal economic challenge. For some of us, our financial ordeals started a long time before the last recession. In this respect I see us as those who have been refined in the fire and are capable of a different level of ministry as long-term survivors.
We can attest to Habbukuk’s declaration of trust in God because we have known God’s faithfulness for ourselves and may have sung the hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness” with tears in our own eyes. In response to the words of this hymn, let us ask ourselves the following questions:
• Just how much am I trusting God’s faithfulness during these challenging times?
• How much am I exhibiting faithfulness by responding to those in need?
• Do I tell others how God has provided for me?
• Do I withhold or hoard from others or do I freely give as I have freely received?
As a Church, our mission is to restore and promote trust in God even as we seek to alleviate suffering through prayerful action with soup kitchens and other outreach ministries, and educational seminars on empowerment and employment, budgeting and finance. These are critical times and we need to love God, our neighbour and ourselves.
• Rev Angela Palacious, a motivational speaker and author of several devotional books, is an Anglican priest. She may be contacted at 393-9000 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.