When your jug is nearly dry

Elijah asks the widow for a bit of bread, but all she has is a handful of flour in her jar and a little oil in her jug. She is preparing to cook something for herself and her son. They’ll eat it, and then—with nothing left—they will die.

Still, Elijah asks again. And he promises that the jar will never go empty, and the jug will never run dry.

How many times have we heard that story?

And how many times has God asked us for more when we are feeling empty and dry? A sick child calls you out of bed at 2 a.m. The car breaks down when you have the least money for a mechanic. When you’re already feeling stretched thin, you’re presented with a challenge—or an opportunity that seems to be coming at exactly the wrong time.

You wonder why God would ask that of you at a time when your jar of flour is nearly empty and your jug is nearly dry.

But what if when you feel least prepared, you’re actually most poised and primed to do the real work God is asking you to do? Maybe, just maybe, it is at those moments when you have the least energy and the fewest resources that you are able to achieve your greatest work.

Maybe it’s then, when there is nothing else in the way, when God can truly use you as the instrument He created you to be. Because then, and only then, do we need to rely on Him fully, trust Him completely, and recognize that we can only find our strength in Him.

Isn’t it at the moments of darkness and despair when God can show up in the most miraculous ways? Maybe, just maybe, when our jug is nearly dry, that is the time when we can most shine doing God’s work on earth.

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Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner

Rita Buettner is a wife, working mother and author of the Catholic Review's Open Window blog. She and her husband adopted their two sons from China, and Rita often writes about topics concerning adoption, family and faith.

Rita also writes The Domestic Church, a featured column in the Catholic Review. Her writing has been honored by the Catholic Press Association, the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Press Association and the Associated Church Press.