God has prepared you for every single opportunity He has in mind. What opportunities do we have as widows that we shouldn’t allow to pass us by? For one thing we have the opportunity to live out our lives in such a fashion that somebody’s life will be changed. We can make a difference. God creates opportunities in our lives in order for us to fulfill His purposes and His plan.
God has so worked in our lives that we have the privilege and the “know how” to fulfill every single purpose He has designed us for. The problem is that we compare ourselves to everybody else, but do you realize that God doesn’t compare us to anybody? He doesn’t compare us because He knows that there is no one else like you.
You and I are uniquely designed for this time in our lives to fulfill whatever opportunities God has foreordained for us. Oh, it would just be easier to give up and quit because our lives have not turned out the way that we planned now that our husbands have preceded us into heaven. After all, there will be those who may stand back and criticize us for some of the decisions that we make now that we are on our own. But, if we are closely listening to what the Holy Spirit is saying to us and are in tune with Him, we have to decide not to let God given opportunities pass us by.
You and I aren’t finished because we’ve lost our husbands, our identities, and our entire way of life. We have the opportunity now in our grief to get all the way down to the nitty gritty and start all over again putting God in His rightful place. It’s a matter of whether or not we believe it and will we take advantage of it.
Let’s think for a minute about other widows in the Bible who took advantage of opportunity in their grief. Ruth took the opportunity to leave her entire way of life to follow God. She chose to go with Naomi and ended up having the opportunity to work in the field of Boaz. Boaz provided the opportunity for her to be protected as she gleaned beside his workers. He provided the opportunity for her to gather extra grain after telling his servants to drop handfuls of grain on purpose just for her. God provided the opportunity for Ruth to find favor in Boaz’s eyes which resulted in remarriage. And from the remarriage came the opportunity to bear a son that was in the line of Christ. Ruth was designed for these opportunities even though the death of her husband was not something that she planned for or ever desired. Yet, God used that death and her grief journey to take her to more opportunities that He had designed and foreordained for her life.
I can’t help but stop here and wonder if Orpah missed an opportunity by not going with Ruth and Naomi or if God had other opportunities for her when she returned to Moab.
What about the widow who dared to take the opportunity to cry out her frustrations to Elisha? Can you just see her facing Elisha and very loudly saying, “Your servant, my husband, revered the Lord! You knew him! He was your student! You know he was a Godly man! Now he’s dead! Why has this happened to us?! Why didn’t the promises of prosperity to the righteous prove true for us?! Why did my husband die in the prime of his life before he could straighten out our financial difficulties and provide for his family?! IT’S NOT FAIR!! I’ve lost a good husband and now I’m going to lose my two sons to pay his debt! They are to become slaves and someone else will own them and I’ll be left all alone with no one to help me or support me!” This widow had supported her husband’s goals and visions and had no doubt been an efficient homemaker. After his death she used all of their resources to pay some of his debts and now she was reduced to nothing and had nothing left.
This widow’s story doesn’t stop there. Elisha asked her what she had left in her house and she told him she had just a little bit of oil. He told her to borrow all of the containers that she could and then to pour the oil she had left into those containers. She could have laughed in his face, but she didn’t. She took the opportunity to do what he said and ended up having enough oil to sell to pay the rest of her husband’s debts and to live on what was left.
Anna was another widow who didn’t give up after losing her husband only 7 years into their marriage. She chose the opportunity to stay in the temple area and use the following 84 years to serve God. Because of her choosing that opportunity she was able to see Christ when Mary and Joseph brought him to the Temple and to praise God and share the message of redemption with others.
Then there was the poor widow who didn’t have much, but she gave all that she had when she had the opportunity to drop her last two mites into the offering. Jesus used her as an example of great faith and little is much in God’s eyes.
Don’t forget the widow of Zerephath whom God had prepared to take care of the prophet Elijah. She was out gathering sticks to build a fire and prepare some bread from the last bit of meal for her and her son before they died of starvation. Elijah told her not to be afraid and then asked her to make a cake for him first and bring it to him before she made a cake for her and her son. This widow could have passed up this opportunity to do something by pure faith, but she didn’t and because of that her meal and oil lasted for many days until God sent rain and another opportunity for them to earn a living so they could eat.
Another widow was greatly troubled by an adversary. She could have quietly stood by and allowed whatever was happening to happen. Yet, she decided to take the opportunity to go and plead her case to a judge whom she knew had no respect for God much less for man. Can you imagine how much courage that took? And she didn’t just go to him one time. She went to him continually until God moved on his hard heart to avenge her of her adversary.
Remember that sometimes there may be only one opportunity to fulfill one of God’s purposes in our life and then it’s gone. God’s not going to cram an opportunity down your throat. He’s not going to make you take advantage of it. There’s one opportunity that you cannot afford to take and that is to admit that you are a sinner and to accept Christ as your personal Savior. Opportunities are passing.
What opportunities have you had as a widow? Have you allowed some opportunities to pass you by? Will you have the courage in the days ahead to stay in tune with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and take whatever opportunities that God has for you?
Oh God, help me to know what opportunities you send my way and to have the courage as well as the physical and emotional strength to not let them pass me by!