Several years ago, I was teaching a Sunday School class of 12-year-olds. It was a wonderful group of kids, and I so enjoyed being with them every week. On that particular Sunday, we were discussing the story of Elisha, the widow, and her oil (see II Kings, chap. 4), which was included in that week’s Christian Science Bible Lesson.
In this story a widow, the wife of one of the sons of the prophets, came to the prophet Elisha, saying that her husband had died. She was in debt, and now her sons were going to be taken by her creditors. Of course, she was feeling great fear. Elisha asked her, “What do you have in the house?” and she responded, “Nothing at all, except a flask of olive oil” (New Living Translation). Elisha then told her something that probably sounded very odd: He told her to go and collect as many pots as she could find. She did this, and when she came back home, he told her to pour the oil into these pots. When she did, she was able to fill all the pots and still have a little oil remaining. Elisha then told her, “Now sell the olive oil and pay your debts.” The widow and her household were saved.
The kids found this story very interesting, and toward the end of our discussion, I asked them what they thought about it. I said, “Do you think this is something that only happened during Bible times, or could it happen today?”
They were kind of stumped. They thought about the question for a while, and finally concluded that they honestly didn’t know. They wondered what I thought. I told them that I thought the reason we continue to read these Bible stories is because, yes, they are relevant to us today. I had to admit that never in my life had I actually seen oil multiply—but I have seen many times in which I turned to God and my needs were met, often in surprising ways, and even in ways that might appear miraculous. So my answer was: Yes, these things still happen in our times, just as they did in the days of Elisha. We’re relying on the same spiritual laws and truths that Elisha was relying on. The kids and I found this a satisfying answer, and the class continued.
I was able to get calm and feel confident that God really was meeting my every need.
The next day, Monday, I went to take money out of my bank account and was stunned to discover I had no money left. The reason was because I had recently moved from one apartment to another, and the moving costs had been far greater than I had expected. They included some incidental expenses that had happened on the day of the move, and I had pulled money out of my bank account to cover them without stopping to check my balance. That morning I discovered, much to my horror, that I had basically spent all my money—savings and everything. It was a week or two until my next paycheck, so I had no money to get by on in the days ahead.
I must admit I felt some panic, and I wondered if I should try to borrow some money from someone, as uncomfortable as I felt about doing that. Suddenly it occurred to me that just a few hours before I had been assuring the kids that God meets all our needs. I asked myself, Do I really believe what I told those kids, and if I do, can’t I put that into action right now? So instead of making a move to borrow money, I turned to God in prayer.
I thought about some of the spiritual truths that the kids and I had been discussing during that Sunday School class. I acknowledged that God is our eternal Father-Mother, caring for us at every moment and meeting our every need. I was able to get calm and feel confident that this was the case: God really was meeting my every need. I knew He would lead me in whatever direction was right—even if it was surprising, as with the widow being asked to gather all those pots.
As I prayed, the answer that came seemed to be that I should just calmly proceed with my day. I had enough money in my wallet to get through the day, and the message that God seemed to be giving me was that I didn’t need to be scared or speak to anyone about the situation. So that was what I did.
The next day, much to my surprise, I got a phone call from the friend who had moved into my old apartment. I had completely forgotten that when I moved out, I had left behind a few things that wouldn’t be useful to me in my new place, but that might be useful to him—things like an air conditioner and a small couch. He was calling to remind me that he and I had never talked about any kind of payment for those things left behind. He was finding them very useful and wanted to pay me for them. He suggested a generous sum, and actually walked over during lunch time to give me a check. That money met my needs until the next paycheck.
And that’s not all: A few days after that, I discovered a surprisingly large check in my mailbox from a relative who had never before sent me money out of the blue like that. This relative knew I had just moved into a new apartment and wanted to give me this money as a gift in case there was anything I needed to buy. It was such a sweet gesture. I was able to deposit the check into savings, and it helped me return to the same financial footing I had been on before the move.
This whole experience showed me that, as I had said to the kids, stories of God meeting people’s needs are not just about things that happened in Bible times. They illustrate spiritual laws that we can apply in our lives today.
Marjorie Kehe lives in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts.
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