First Reading: 1 Kings 17:17-24

A Simple Act of Compassion

How have you helped someone today?

17 The son of the woman, the mistress of the house, became sick; and his sickness was so severe that there was no breath left in him. 18 She said to Elijah, “What have I to do with you, you man of God? You have come to me to bring my sin to memory, and to kill my son!”

19 He said to her, “Give me your son.” He took him out of her bosom, and carried him up into the room where he stayed, and laid him on his own bed. 20 He cried to YHWH, and said, “YHWH my God, have you also brought evil on the widow with whom I am staying, by killing her son?”

21 He stretched himself on the child three times, and cried to YHWH, and said, “YHWH my God, please let this child’s soul come into him again.”

22 YHWH listened to the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. 23 Elijah took the child, and brought him down out of the room into the house, and delivered him to his mother; and Elijah said, “Behold, your son lives.”

24 The woman said to Elijah, “Now I know that you are a man of God, and that YHWH’s word in your mouth is truth.”

In 1 Kings 17, Elijah declared a drought to the idolatrous king, Ahab. He departed and eventually arrived at the town of Zaraphath, where he asked a widow for food and drink. Unfortunately, because of the drought, she was in the midst of preparing the last meal for her and her son; then, they would stave to death. She prepared the meal for the prophet and realized the miracle of enough food until rain fell on the land.

The verses above picked up the story at this point. The son fell deathly ill and passed away, but Elijah called out to YHWH and the son came back to life. This led to the woman’s declaration of faith, both in the God of Israel and in Elijah as his prophet.

A wise person once said, “We see miracles all the time, but we seldom notice them.” The woman saw the miracle of the food, only to doubt in the time of her son’s death. We, too, see the hand of God in our daily lives, but either take it for granted or doubt due to familiarity. Nonetheless, he does act in our lives. We just need to notice what he is doing. Then, we can make a declaration of faith, like the poor woman in 1 Kings.

What miracles have you seen today? Have you thanked God for them?