So I'm walking into church one week, and it was one of those days. I had woken up with my eyes closed. I would have walked right by one of my favorite families if the friend with me hadn't called out to them. And there's my precious girl with her standard cry of "Miss Stephanie!" as she scrambles to get around her father to me. She hands me this as if she knew how much my heart needed a touch of Beauty and color that day:
An oil jar traced over and over and over because Elisha told the widow to gather every jar she could find and take her "Nothing... well a little bit of oil..." and pour it out and the oil just kept coming and coming! (2 Kings 4)
And I am flashing back to the time I sat next to this little girl's mother (my professor at the time) during a chapel service. Two sisters trying desperately to learn how to live like all we have really is enough, and suddenly we're listening to this story of a prophet, a widow, and a little bit of oil that just kept coming. But this time it's Elijah and he's asking the woman for a piece of bread. She replies that she has just enough flour and oil to make one last meal that she and her son "may eat it - and die." (1 Kings 17:7-16) We all know how the story ends. She bakes some bread for Elijah first and then keeps baking day after day and finds that "the jar of flour was not used up and the jug of oil did not run dry." It was enough!
That was the first and only time a professor ever elbowed me in the ribs, and I'm glad she did because I've never forgotten that. But here's where I bring all my musings full circle. In between the widow declaring how little she has and the moment she realizes God can make it enough, Elijah says three words that once again elbow me in the ribs: Don't be afraid. A prophet echoing the command God gives His people more than any other. Don't be afraid. And I can see these two widows who think they have nothing. They think they have been utterly defeated. Sure, the one calls out to Elisha, but her words are dripping with fear and defeat and hopelessness. Both women are convinced that because they only have a little, they have nothing. Been there? Yeah, me too. And in those times I walk the way I picture those women walking, "shuffling along, eyes to the ground" afraid and ashamed because I am convinced I have nothing. No strength. No hope. No patience. No energy. I don't have enough, and I am afraid! It is fear that makes us blind. It is fear that causes us to live with eyes to the ground and fists clenched. And that is why God is so serious about us not being afraid.
So as I, along with so many others, dive headlong into a new school year this is what's spinning on the brain: Don't be afraid. Live with your eyes open. A little bit is a far cry from nothing, and God is all about multiplication. It really is enough.