All of us have struggled with our “enough” being threatened in the last couple of months. In fact, “enough” has taken on a whole new meaning as we watched the grocery store shelves empty right before our eyes in a matter of hours when this pandemic started.
How much is enough for you?
How much more can you accumulate to try to ease your insecurity?
God always provides enough, but we have trouble accepting what enough is.
On Mother’s Day, Sam told us the story of a widow – a mother who didn’t have enough to keep her son alive. She had enough flour and oil to make bread one more time, and soon after they would die. As a mother, I cannot imagine such a fate as knowing I would soon watch my child starve to death. God sent the prophet, Elijah, to tell her to make him some bread with what she had left and he would fill her empty flour jar every day until it rained again – for about two years.
And Elijah said to her, “Do not fear; go and do as you have said. But first, make me a little cake of it and bring it to me, and afterward make something for yourself and your son. 14 For thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, ‘The jar of flour shall not be spent, and the jug of oil shall not be empty, until the day that the Lord sends rain upon the earth.’” 15 And she went and did as Elijah said. And she and he and her household ate for many days. 16 The jar of flour was not spent, neither did the jug of oil become empty, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by Elijah. – 1 Kings 17:13-16
God did fill her flour jar every day – but with only enough flour for each day – one day at a time. The thing I can’t stop thinking about is the simple act of putting the empty flour jar away every night and trusting God to provide enough for the next day. How much faith that small task required! This is the faith that God calls us to. The smallest acts of faith sometimes produce the most powerful displays of God’s power and presence in our lives. We expect Him to show up in the big things in life but we fail to look for Him to show up in the middle of the every day “small” things in our lives.
Putting the jar away would have been a small thing she had to do every day, but now it was different. She wasn’t just tidying up her kitchen before she went to bed each night. It was a deliberate act of trust for God to show up in the small task every day. God – who is the very sustenance of life – the bread of life – gave them physical sustenance, and in turn, spiritual sustenance, as He does for us as well.
We all have these small tasks we do every day for our families. We may not be thinking about how God will show up tomorrow as we put the loaf of bread away but we are every bit as desperate for His presence and power as this widow was. We just don’t recognize it sometimes until there is no more bread. It is a beautiful thing to trust God with our empty flour jars and see His plan unfold before our wide-open eyes and searching hearts. Funny how the empty flour jar speaks so much more beauty into our lives than a full pantry. Is it that slight discomfort of not knowing where the next meal comes from and then the thrill of seeing God provide? It is like a power surge to our souls as it rattles us and wakes us every single time.
I think sometimes we are mistaken about what abundant life is. Abundant life will never come from an abundance of things, even full flour jars. It doesn’t come from the store or a full pantry. It comes from simple acts and enormous faith, and a relationship with Jesus who meets all our needs.
This year, enough is a big word for me. There are many things in my life that God has said “enough” to, and I know they must change. I am both relieved and terrified at the same time, but more relieved than terrified. Ridding our lives of the not so good things is hard, and since we find security in those things sometimes, it is frightening to think about taking them away. But it is even more frightening to choose to let them stay. In her book Jesus Over Everything, Lisa Whittle said The true success of a person is not in whether she can make her life work; it’s in whether she can die to her life enough for Jesus to work in her.
The true success of a person is not in
whether she can make her life work;
it’s in whether she can die to her life
enough for Jesus to work in her.
Lisa Whittle – Jesus Over Everything
Like the widow, sometimes we have to get to the place where we have absolutely nothing left so we can see that His sufficiency is all we need. We will become like the empty flour jar – pouring out ourselves to those around us, and allowing Him to fill us back up every time, with only exactly what we need for the next step He gives us. God gives us enough for each day – enough grace, mercy, patience, provision, etc…- no more and no less but just enough for that day. He is enough. God always provides enough but we have trouble accepting what enough is. God is everything we need, and until we quit trying to fill ourselves up with the things of this world – shopping, food, drugs, alcohol, social media, binge-watching shows, or whatever we think makes us happy – we won’t ever feel peace. We make ashes out of our lives with these idols, but when we give our ashes to Him and He gives beauty in return.
Enough. Give Him your empty jar today and He will fill it with the true peace you have been seeking.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.
By Lara Cook