We’ve heard it called the “mother bear syndrome.” Many things are tolerable, but when it comes to the welfare of our children, watch out! This has been the heart of mothers since the beginning of time.
The widow at Zarephath in 1 Kings 17:7 is a great example of this. The Lord told Elijah to go to Zarephath where He had prepared the heart of a widow to serve him. Upon arriving at the town gate, Elijah saw her gathering sticks. He asked her to bring him a jar of water and a piece of bread. She replied that she had no bread. She explained that she was gathering sticks to make a fire to cook a small cake of bread she would make with the last bit of flour and oil she had. She believed she and her son would then die for lack of food.
He told her to make him a cake first, then a meal for herself and her son. He told her that the Lord said that her flour would not be used up and her jug of oil would not run dry, until the Lord provided rain. In obedience, she did as he said. So there was food every day for Elijah and the woman and her family. What an awesome miracle!
Sometime later, the widow’s son became ill, growing worse until he died. Did she say, “Well Lord, You provided for us before; surely You’ll intervene now”? No, she said to Elijah, “What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?”
Where was her faith? Hadn’t she seen God’s power before? Yes, but when it comes to our children . . .
I find it equally interesting that Elijah didn’t rebuke her for her obvious lack of faith. He took her son and prayed to God for help. God heard Elijah’s cry and the boy’s life returned to him.
Perhaps God put this in the Bible not only for an account of the miracles worked through Elijah, but as a hint that He understands a mother’s heart. Did God strike the widow dead? Did Elijah condemn her? No, Elijah interceded for her because he understood her pain. God chose to heal her son despite her obvious lack of faith in that moment.
When it’s hard to be strong on our children’s behalf; when our faith wanes; when we can’t help but fearfully whisper “why?” remember this story. God does understand and He loves you, the mother of His children.