“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over.” Psalm 23:5
I was listening to Christian talk radio recently and I caught part of a conversation with a lady who had returned from missionary work in China a few months ago. She was there for several years. During her time there, she explained, she sometimes felt lonely and uncertain of what she was supposed to be doing. As she put it, she felt as if her cup was empty.
We don’t always know why bad, sad or confusing things happen to us. But we can know for sure that God is always with us, He’s still sovereign, and somehow He’ll bring it all to goodness because He is so good. It’s because He allows these things to occur in our lives that we can grow closer to Him and increase our faith. And when we do, when we learn what God is trying to teach us, it is then that His blessings begin to flow until our cup runneth over.
I’m reminded of the story in 1 Kings of Elisha and a certain widow who cried out to Elisha for help. Her husband was dead and now his creditors were coming to collect what was owed. If she couldn’t pay then the creditors would take her sons as payment and use them as slaves. Elisha asked her what she had in the house and she said she only had one jar of oil. So Elisha told her to gather as many empty jars as she could from all her neighbors and then to use her last jar full of oil to pour out into the empty ones.
Now, if this happened to me I probably would have been thinking, “What? How in the world is this going to help? Didn’t you understand what I said? The creditors are coming to take my sons away to be slaves! And you want me to start borrowing jars and pouring oil? Can’t you just go talk to the creditors instead of making me gather up some dumb old jars?”
I would guess that little of it made any sense to the widow at the time either. But being an obedient woman, and one who trusted Elisha, she did as he told her to do. And here’s what happened:
“So she went from him and shut the door behind her and her sons, who brought the vessels to her; and she poured it out. Now it came to pass when the vessels were full that she said to her son, ‘Bring me another vessel.’ And he said to her, ‘There is not another vessel.’ So the oil ceased flowing. Then she came and told the man of God and he said to her, ‘Go, sell the oil and pay your debt, and you and your sons live on the rest.’” 1 Kings 4:5–7
Notice that she had to close the door behind her and leave Elisha
outside. Because he wasn’t in the house with her, she got to see God’s power in action and could not give credit to Elisha. She saw God multiply her one jar of oil into many jars of oil in order to meet her need. And once she figured out what God was doing, she finally understood how good and mighty He is.
No matter what’s happening in your life, God is still in control and He is able to meet your every need. Every single one! So whether you’re down to your last crumb in the cupboard, if you or a loved one is experiencing a serious illness, if your child has gone prodigal, if you can’t find a job, or even if you’ve moved halfway across the world to do missions work for God and you can’t quite understand why you’re there after a while…whatever is happening, God is with you and He’s working on a big blessing for you if you can just hang in there and remain faithful to Him and His truth.
Peter reminds us in 1 Peter 5:6,
“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care on Him, for He cares for you.”
Trust God With Your Cup
We have to trust that God knows what He’s doing, and that by trusting we can overcome whatever life throws at us. This is a lesson of victorious Christian living. God never promised that every day would be fluffy bunnies and daffodils. He said instead that as Christians we will have trials and tribulations. All of it is a part of His plan for you to mold you and shape you so that in due time you will be exalted and your jars will be filled beyond your wildest imagination.
The woman on the radio eventually decided that it’s only by trusting God that she could handle her circumstances way out in the middle of nowhere China. And it was then that she began to feel joy for her work again and find new purpose. In her words, “He kept filling my cup.” Which is exactly what God loves to do. He did it for her and He’ll do it for you.
“You prepare a table for me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:5–6