Imagine this for me… You’re a single mom, no money, no hope, just enough food to make one last meal for you and your child before you lay down and die of starvation. When a man comes along and asks you to give him that last meal. You apologize and explain you and your child are starving to death yourself. You wish you could help, but you can’t. The man tells you, “Feed me first and God will make sure you have enough for you and your child”. It sounds crazy, but at this point what have you got to lose? You’re going to starve to death anyway. So you obey, and that obedience is returned, not once but over and over. God not only provides enough to feed you and your child AND the stranger for a day, but for a year and a half! The praises you would sing to the Lord! How thankful you would be! Wouldn’t anyone? This is the story of the widow of Zarephath (1Kings 17). The first time I read it I thought it was about God providing for us, having faith that the food would be there every day based on nothing more than the miracle of it being there the day before.
But then I read the rest of the story…
Not long after all this the widow’s only child, whom God had pulled out of starvation, gets very sick and dies. The widow is devastated. Who wouldn’t be? She is furious that Elijah even came there, why go through all that and save her and her child, just to have God take him anyways? Elijah prays over the boy and he comes back to life!
I mean it’s a great story, but the part I didn’t get was, why let her son die?
Just to bring him back and prove he could?
To allow Elijah to perform a miracle and give him more credibility in God’s name?
I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. I read it over and over, read explainations and commentary on the story. Even told it to my sister, who said the same thing as I did, why kill her son?
It didn’t make any sense, until I came across this quote by A.W. Pink:
“Instead of a river, God often gives us a brook, which may be running today and dried up tomorrow. Why? To teach us not to rest in our blessings, but in the blesser Himself.”
Wow! I mean that hit me straight to the heart. How easy it is to rest in the blessings? Especially now, the weather’s warm, there are days in the sun, at the beach, campfires and smores and laughter and fun. The flowers are in bloom, gardens and berry patches and orchards are about to be over-flowing with his blessings! But how hard is it to praise when it’s -18 outside, your gas bill has tripled, you slip on the ice while shoveling yet another 18 inches of snow off the driveway and you’re like seriously God? Is this a joke? How far away summer felt then? How far away the blessings felt?
We tend to miss the point that we are not living this life for the blessings, we are living it for the Blesser! Oh and what a good thing that is! Because the blessings come and go, but if we hold fast to the Blesser and find comfort in Him through whom all the blessings flow, the times when the blessings are harder to see, to feel, become so much easier.
We can only find true rest in Jesus.
““Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” – Matthew 11:28-30 (MSG)
Now for the food part. Back in college there was this pizza place across from the bookstore. They had some of the best pizza in New Mexico, really authentic Italian. For $5.00 you could get a slice of pizza, a large coke and a container of this awesome pesto pasta salad. It was my favorite, the fact that it was cheap was nice, but honestly it was REALLY good. Being a broke college student I ate there often. Now grown up and not living in New Mexico anymore, I can definitely find good pizza, but I miss that pasta salad. It only has a few ingredients so it proved easy to recreate. I hope you enjoy it!
Pesto Pasta Salad
Cherry Tomatoes – halved
Prepared Pesto Sauce (I make my own when I can, store bought is good too!)
You’ll notice right away I didn’t add amounts. Why? Well this recipe is kind of open to your interpretation. Depending on how much you need, you can make. You can use a whole box of pasta and add a ton of tomatoes and broccoli – say if you are having people over or need to take it to a BBQ or Potluck. OR you can make a couple cups of pasta and just make enough for a side at dinner or with lunch. Since there are so few ingredients you can mess with the ratios to get what you enjoy. Just add a little Pesto at a time until everything is lightly coated and refrigerate, over night is best!