Five Potatoes

“Five,” she muttered while staring at the potatoes she held in her hands. How can we survive the coming winter? I doubt we’ll even make it through the week. The middle-aged woman who looked older than her years slumped in the creaky chair in her bare kitchen. Her fear of the future, like a thick, dark smoke, filled the room, suffocating her. She had no energy to fight off the tears, telling herself, I might as well make our last meal.
“Mom, there’s a man outside the door,” her nine-year-old son called out. After her husband died five years ago, this boy is all she has. She would do anything—everything—for him. But for how long can she keep both of them alive?
The man sporting a scraggly beard and matted hair said, “I’ve been walking for miles. May I have some water please?” Knowing what it means to have nothing, her heart went out to him. “Here you go,” she said and handed a cup of water to the stranger. In between gulps, he shared how he, a traveling preacher, has been doing God’s work. “The kindness of people,” he stated matter-of-factly. “If you’re wondering how somebody like me can survive out there. You wouldn’t believe it if I told you how God has been taking care of me.”
God? If there really is a God, are we visible to Him? Does He care that the whole countryside has not seen rain for months? That there will be no harvest in the foreseeable future?
“Thank you,” the man handed the emptied cup to her. “My name is Ellis and it’s been two days since I’ve eaten. Can you spare me something to eat?” Who does this man think I am—the queen of England? The paint has peeled off our walls and there’s hardly any shingles left on our roof. Isn’t it obvious that we don’t have two pennies to rub together? “Look, I don’t have any food to give you. In fact, we are down to our last five potatoes,” she explained. “I’m afraid my son and I will starve to death soon.” Ellis replied, “Don’t worry. Boil a few potatoes for me and for you and your son. The God whom I serve is telling you, ‘You will never run out of potatoes until the rain falls again.’”
If God can provide for this man, maybe He will take pity on us too. I’m willing to take this chance. The woman boiled the potatoes for the three of them. Before eating, Ellis offered to say grace and prayed, “Thank You, Lord, for what we are about to eat. We trust You to provide for us in the coming days. ”
Ellis regaled the mother and son with stories of God’s love and provision, of His mercy and protection. After their meal, she picked up the potato sack to throw away but it didn’t even budge. Curious, she opened it. Inside, she found tens of potatoes, enough to last them this week and the next. But how could it be? “Ellis! Look!” The traveling preacher lifted his arms, looked up and exclaimed, “Father, another miracle!”
At the end of the following week, the same thing happened when the widow was down to her last five potatoes. God constantly multiplied what she had and they never went hungry again. The widow’s fear has been replaced with peace. Her tears, with laughter.
Amazing what the Lord can do with five potatoes and a whole lot of faith.
*Based on a true story. See 1 Kings 17:8-16. I wrote this piece, my “Word Made Fresh” attempt, almost four months ago. If you want to know more about how to make the Word, God’s Word, fresh for people today, consider attending LittWorld 2018 in Singapore (October 28-November 2). For details, check out the facebook page of Media Associates International.

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