“What can I do to help you?” Elisha asked. “Tell me, what do you have in the house?” “Nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil,” she replied. II Kings 4:2
I stared at the flier in my hand where the theme for the upcoming retreat stared back at me, “The Possibility of the Impossible.” Having chosen my word for the year as possible, I thought “THIS is my retreat!”
The retreat was targeted to “mature” singles from my church which basically means older. Lord, how did I get here? As I shared in an earlier post called Moving Possible Mountains the area of singleness and my desire for marriage is one of the mountains I can be tempted to doubt God can move in my life.
My dear friend and I loaded up our stuff – more than enough for two nights (we women need options!) – and headed down 59 North to the retreat center in east Texas. The speaker, Ken Brumley from Green Acres Baptist Church in Tyler, brought insightful and moving messages about God’s work in the realm of the impossible as he taught based on I Samuel 17, the battle of David and Goliath.
At one point, Mr. Brumley brought up the reality that we do not see the impossible because we fail to prepare. David practicing slinging stones for many years before his time arrived to sling the stone at Goliath and hit the exposed place between Goliath’s eyes, the only place that his armor didn’t cover.
I begin to think about preparing for the impossible and what that looks like. While asking the Lord to teach me more, the story from Scripture which surfaced in my mind is the widow in II Kings 4:1-7.
The chapter begins with the widow’s dire distress of being unable to pay her debts and the nightmare of her sons becoming slaves to pay off a creditor. She calls to Elisha, asking him to remember how her husband was loyal to him and feared the Lord. Elisha asks her what she has in the house and the widow replies “nothing at all” – except a flask of olive oil.
This dear lady feels helpless as she is being threatened by loss. Loss of her sons. Loss of her home. Loss of her dignity. She is facing intimidation from an enemy which tells her she will not see the impossible.
Notice how she and her family have been preparing for the impossible. They seek the Lord and have done so for years. I am confident this is not the first time they need a miracle. I would guess they’ve not only invested time but also contributed to the needs of Elisha when they had resources because his ministry represented the Lord’s purposes in Israel.
It is clear to me that one of the ways to prepare for the impossible is faithful perseverance even in the mundane. Praying for a friend or family member to come to Christ, loving people through words of encouragement, memorizing and praying Scripture, staying open to growing through relationships, stepping out to broach spiritual topics with your friend/neighbor/family member when you feel less than courageous, serving in capacities that are not recognized, giving to God’s purposes when finances are tight. . .
I also see that Elijah’s direction to the widow teaches that preparing for the impossible means recognizing God works through what is already known and available – when it seems far from enough or there is little potential. The widow had nothing left except the olive oil. I imagine she used olive oil on a regular basis and was familiar with how it was bought and sold. God asked her through Elijah to open her eyes to what He had put in front of her. Even when it is only a small amount she willingly offered it.
What seems too familiar to think God can work to bring about the impossible? Perhaps a musical gift that is underdeveloped, a stagnant relationship, a struggling business or ministry, a message that is stirring but there aren’t opportunities to share it, a dream that has yet to materialize, a budget that is too tight, a child or family member who isn’t interested in the things of God. . .like the widow, we look at what God has placed in our lives and offer it to Him in faith instead of just looking at the deficit.
Sister, join me in standing against the intimidation of the enemy who wants us to believe there is only loss and struggle in our future. I am asking God to prepare me for the impossible by giving me the perseverance to be diligent in the daily things of God. I am asking Him to open my eyes to see by faith the familiar things before me that He can work in and through to do the impossible. There is more to learn from this moving story of a widow in need so stay tuned as I will pick back up in May. Please encourage myself and other sisters by sharing an impossible situation you are looking for God to turn around or one that you’ve already seen become a reality. Read Preparing for the Impossible Part II