When the widow’s son dies her grief explodes in self deprecation. In this verse she says in essence, “I have brought this upon myself because of my sin. God is punishing me because of something I’ve done.” I have heard this so often from people in various counseling settings.  Guess what: They are right! Most of our sorrows and sufferings in life are due to sin. Not necessarily our own, although it often is our own sin, but sin in general of sin of others around us or in our heritage.

The widow, however, does more than deprecate herself. She turns to the right place for help; Elijah! He intercedes on her behalf and her son is restored to her. Not because she deserves it, but simply because of God’s mercy. God’s mercy is a wonderful thing. It is always His mercy that saves us from the calamities of this life and from the condemnation in the life to come.

Max Lucado writes, “God does not save us because of what we’ve done. Only a puny god could be bought with tithes. Only an egotistical god would be impressed with our pain. Only a temperamental god could be satisfied by sacrifices. Only a heartless god would sell salvation to the highest bidders. And only a great God does for his children what they can’t do for themselves. God’s delight is received upon surrender, not awarded upon conquest. The first step to joy is a plea for help, an acknowledgment of moral destitution, an admission of inward paucity. Those who taste God’s presence have declared spiritual bankruptcy and are aware of their spiritual crisis.… Their pockets are empty. Their options are gone. They have long since stopped demanding justice; they are pleading for mercy.”

May we reach out for God’s mercy and not demand God’s justice.

“Make allowances for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.” Colossians 3:13