It is pitch dark when Ah-pi starts her day. Others in the village will wake up soon to make their way to the rubber plantation. Harvesting latex is one of the main sources of income for people living in Hongzhuang Village, China. To collect as much latex as possible, the trees must be tapped very early in the morning, before daybreak. Ah-pi will be among the rubber tappers, but first she will spend time communing with God.
Ah-pi’s father, husband, and only son have passed away, and she—with her daughter-in-law—is providing for an elderly mother and two young grandsons. Her story reminds me of another widow in the Bible who trusted God.
The widow’s husband had died and left her in debt (2 Kings 4:1). In her distress, she looked to God for help by turning to His servant Elisha. She believed that God cared and that He could do something about her situation. And God did. He provided miraculously for the dire needs of this widow (vv. 5–6). This same God also provided for Ah-pi—though less miraculously—through the toil of her hands, the produce from the ground, and gifts from His people.
Though life can make various demands on us, we can always draw strength from God. We can entrust our cares to Him, do all we can, and let Him amaze us with what He can do with our situation.
Father, thank You for Your patience when I trust in my own resources and turn to You only as a last resort. Teach me to seek Your help in all I do.
We may face situations beyond our reserves, but never beyond God’s resources.
Can you remember a time when you thought that without a miracle you might not make it?
The Old Testament story of Elijah and Elisha speaks to such fears and the need for faith. Through signs and wonders Elijah called a nation back to its God (1 Kings 18:21, 38–39). Elisha, in turn, inspired hope by miraculously purifying water, multiplying food, and raising the dead.
This is the backstory that according to the New Testament was preparing the way for Jesus. With echoes of Elisha, Jesus filled the stomachs of more than 5,000 hungry people with a little boy’s lunch (Matthew 14:15–21).
Are you troubled by overwhelming needs that keep you awake at night? How does reflecting on God’s miraculous power give you hope?