The admonition not to fear is repeated throughout scripture. Think of the angels’ words to the Bethlehem shepherds. Look at last Saturday’s reading, when Jesus tells Jairus, “Do not fear?” (Mark 5:36), and God’s message to Jeremiah tomorrow (Jeremiah 1:8).
In today’s passage, the widow thinks Elijah has asked her to do the impossible. She even finds it a bit ridiculous. It’s interesting that Elijah’s response isn’t “Trust me,” but rather, “Do not be afraid.”
Why would anyone be afraid if God wanted to do a miracle-to feed their hungry children when there’s no money left, to bring loved ones back from the dead? I’d be first in line for a great work to happen in my life.
Or would I? Like the widow, I’m so used to the status quo that I easily give up on a brighter future. I expect so little from God, I’m ready to throw in the towel without seeking God’s help. Maybe other big disappointments have made me afraid to ask God for what seems impossible.
Elijah countered the widow’s orneriness with a request. He asked her to participate in the miracle. When she could let go of low expectations and fear, and cooperate with God’s work, there would be enough to sustain her until hard times were over.
Dear Lord, help me to not let my fear get in the way of your grace. Amen. — SRN