Since I was a kid, I have loved all things space. I remember watching the first space shuttle take off and the Hubble Telescope launch. I used to write to NASA and ask them to mail me pictures, and they sent them. So when NASA launched the James Webb Space Telescope, i paid attention. I was excited to see the first images come out. The telescope is looking further into space than ever before. Images, like the one above are awe inspiring as I think about all those galaxies and how many stars are in each one. I can’t help but think of Psalm 147:4 that says, “He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by their names” (AMP).
In 2 Kings 4, a widow came to the prophet Elisha with a problem. Her husband owed a lot of debts when he died and the creditors were calling on her to pay off the loans. Since she couldn’t pay, they were demanding her sons as payment. Elisha asked her what she had in her house, and all she had was a little oil. He told her to find every jar she could and fill them with the oil. After doing that, she returned for her next instructions. He told her to sell the oil, pay off the debts and live off the rest of it for the rest of her life. She must have because we don’t read about her again.
I love that God took care of the needs of a nameless widow in the Bible. The same God knows every star by name and took care of the needs of this widow, knows how many hairs are on your head. He knows you and your needs today. Like the widow, you need to call on Him for your answer. It may require something of you, like it did of her. Faith is stepping out in action when it doesn’t make sense and you don’t understand or see what God is up to. It was the Faith of the widow that collected as many jars as she could and kept her pouring until they were all full. It’s also your faith in action that brings about God’s answer. He knows your need as well as He knows each star. Trust Him to do His part when you do yours.
One of the stories on the Bible that speaks to me every time is in 1 Samuel 1. Hannah wasn’t able to have a child so she was ridiculed, taunted, bullied and shamed. Year after year this went on. One year she had enough. Instead of attacking her bully, she went into the Sanctuary to pray. She wept bitterly before God, crying out in prayer for a long time. As she prayed, her lips were moving, but the words were coming from her heart. She wasn’t leaving until God answered her prayer for a son.
Verse 10 says, “Hannah was in deep anguish, crying bitterly as she prayed to the Lord” (NLT). One of the first questions that comes to my mind is, “When is the last time I prayed with that kind of desperation?” Most of our prayers are simple ones with little emotion. I believe one of the reasons God answered Hannah’s prayer, and will answer ours, is because it was fervent and came from deep within her soul, not just her mind.
Verse 12 says, “Hannah continued to pray to the Lord for a long time” (GNT). I’ve heard the saying, “Don’t pray until you’re through. Pray until you’ve prayed through.” This is where it is applied. Too many times, we ask God for something and when He doesn’t answer right away, we quit praying. Hannah didn’t just pray for a long time, she prayed a long time for years. God uses her internal torment to develop a life of prayer. She wasn’t going to stop until she got her answer. One of the reasons God answered her prayer, and will answer ours, is because of persistence.
After the Eli, the priest, had told her God would answer her prayer, verse 18 says, “Then she went back and began to eat again, and she was no longer sad” (NLT). Hannah believed God would answer and acted accordingly. She didn’t let the years of God not answering prayer create doubt. She held onto the promise and acted in faith before God answered. She quit believing the words of the bully and held onto God’s Word instead. One of the reasons God answered her prayer, and will answer ours, is when we act in faith.
Throwback Thursday is a feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.