ODJ: From Bad to Worse

June 2, 2017 

READ: 1 Kings 17:8-24 

[Elijah] cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, please let this child’s life return to him” (v.21).

In 1997 Singapore experienced the Asian financial crisis. Many people couldn’t find jobs—including me. After nine months of sending out countless CVs, I finally landed a job as a copywriter. God provided for my needs! Then the economy plummeted again because of the SARS outbreak. And, once again, I was jobless.

Ever been there? It seems like the worst is over and things are sailing along smoothly, when suddenly the bottom drops out and your life plunges into uncertainty.

The widow at Zarephath could definitely relate. There had been a terrible famine in the land and, facing starvation, the woman was preparing a last meal for herself and her son when the prophet Elijah requested a drink of water and a bite to eat. She responded and subsequently experienced a continuous miraculous supply of flour and oil by which Elijah and her family were sustained (1 Kings 17:10-16). Life was looking good. But then, her son fell ill. His health deteriorated and eventually he died.

At such times, we may respond as the widow did— wondering if God is punishing us for unconfessed sins (v.18). It’s easy to forget that while God may sometimes use suffering to discipline us, often bad things happen to us simply because we live in a fallen world.

Elijah chose to take his concerns to God (v.20). He prayed, “O Lord my God”—expressing his personal relationship with the One who is faithful and true. He then sought to understand God’s purpose for allowing the tragedy to happen. Finally, he prayed by faith in accordance to who He is and what He can do (v.21).

When things just go from bad to worse, may we—like Elijah— realise that the faithful One will not desert us. We can rest in God’s purposes even as we pray by faith for understanding.

—Poh Fang Chia

365-day plan: Daniel 6:1-28

Read James 1:2-4 to see how God can use times of trial in our lives. 
What do your responses to life’s trials reveal about your relationship with God? How can you grow in your trust in Him?