by Nancy Tichy, Author for KidZ at Heart International
Elijah was certainly a great hero. With accounts full of his dramatic rescues and encounters – and full of violence, you probably would not share parts of his story with your kids until you decide they’re mature enough to watch today’s international news broadcasts. A segment of Elijah’s life that is great for family-time reading, however, is found in I Kings 17:17-24. You remember…
Elijah finds a friend in the widow of Zarephath who makes her meager resources available to Elijah’s God and the miracle begins. Her oil and flour never run out! (I Kings 17:18) When her son sickens and eventually dies, she scolds Elijah who picks up the child, carries him to his room and pleads with God for a mighty work. God revives the boy and Elijah returns him to his mother who finally ‘gets it.’ “Now I know…” she exclaims. ”Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth.” One point that this story makes is that God’s mighty works are meant to validate not only God’s messenger but God’s word.
Scripture doesn’t shed any more light on this incident. Time moves on and so does Elijah. After reading the passage in I Kings, you might lead your family in a discussion about what motivates your requests for God to show himself mighty on your behalf. Do you want miracles, first of all, to benefit yourselves, or do you want them so God can show himself mighty – so that others might find him trustworthy? “…now I know God’s Word is truth…”
This leads me to a modern day story which some have declared a miracle. An Australian couple looked forward to the arrival of twins who were born prematurely. The little girl survived, though her tiny life was fragile. The doctor declared the brother dead. He could find no vital signs. The mother asked to have the ‘dead’ infant placed on her chest, skin upon skin, and she began to stroke the child and talk to him in loving tones. She continued this for two hours until he opened his eyes and ‘came to life!’
The parents, in a television interview, said they were ‘lucky.’ So if they attributed this to a mighty work of God, the media chose not to include this in their reporting. The medical community has a name for it – the ‘kangaroo care’ – reports that the child was not really dead at all, and that his responses to his mother’s vital signs eventually awakened his. Anyway, you can search for this story online, and find a recent picture of the twins. The little guy is handsome – very much alive and healthy.
I venture you could have a pretty lively discussion in a family meeting after checking this story out. I could think of questions to put before the group, but I’ll let you come up with your own instead. Please, be sure to consider the possibility, however, that a miracle can be found somewhere in this story, whether the newborn twin was alive to begin with or not. And, if this were true, can you not make it a point to rejoice that our God is an awesome God – today in our modern world, as much as he was back in Elijah’s day? If you know that chorus, sing it together and find gladness to help combat today’s gloom that seems to overcome us like a noxious cloud.
“But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with the children’s children – with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts…his kingdom rules over all.”
(From Psalm 103:17-19)
God is still in control. Hallelujah!!
Note: The twins are named Jamie and Emily. Search online for Kate and David Ogg’s dead baby. Choose the presentation that you like best; there are many. Jamie is nearly six years old now and is thriving.