The Last Meal

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All she needed to do was make a single cake.

The fire cracked and snapped beside her, as she carefully measured out the remnants of flour and oil. For days she had watched as the supply dwindled, numb to the reality of what was ahead.

They would die.

With nothing to eat, nowhere to go, no provisions — the end was inevitable.

Mechanically her hands went through the motions of kneading, flipping, pressing and rolling. The elasticity of the dough taking shape on the board resisted her stretching, just as her mind resisted his words:

“Don’t be afraid.”

How could she trust him? Appearing out of no where, he had asked for water and bread. Such a simple request, yet so difficult for her to fulfill. She had considered lying to him; giving up their last repast without acknowledging the sacrifice. If they were going to die, would it really make a difference?

But her son, how could she watch him die? Already he had grown too thin, the impact of living in a time of famine taking its toll on his young frame. Once he had run and played with joy, now his energy was extinguished and his eyes haunted.

Could she trust the word of this man, that the Lord would come through in her time of need? 

“Don’t be afraid.”

How could she be anything but? Three years, not a drop of rain had fallen on their land. Searching the skies for a sign of relief, she had watched as the life had vanished from around them. Dust and decay were all that remained.

Yet, he was a prophet. They say he hears directly from the Lord. Could it be possible? That what seems depleted could still sustain life? The jar still looked empty, the jug dry. But he had said:

“The jar of flour will not be used up and the jug of oil will not run dry until the day the LORD gives rain on the land.”

Could it be true?

She placed the cake, their last meal, on a plate. Carrying it to the man, she prayed that her hands would not shake as she set it before him. Her last hope, their only sustenance, her final act.

She returned to the fire, wondering when her hunger would devour the gnawing pains in her stomach. How long would it take, and what would the end be like? 

Lifting the jar to return it to its place, almost as an afterthought she peeked inside. Maybe she had miscalculated, and there would be enough so her son could eat. Tipping it upside down, a small pile formed on the board.

Could it be true? What had He done?

Checking the jar, she discerned a trickle of oil. Just enough to satisfy her and her son. They would get a last meal.

Once again, kneading, flipping, pressing and rolling, she formed two little cakes for them. They would live a little longer.

From that day forward, each morning, afternoon and evening she formed three little cakes — for herself, her son, and the man — always wondering if the supply would finally run out and, yet, believing that it would last.

“Give us this day our daily bread…”

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22 thoughts on “The Last Meal

  1. Okay, okay, okay – I admit it – I don’t trust God nearly enough to do this. I also admit that when preachers have asked “how many of you would say that God has ever let you down?” I sometimes feel as though I should raise my hand. (That’s a HORRIBLE question, but I’ve experienced it more than once…)

    The fact that down inside I KNOW that God has, in quite a few cases, NOT done what I felt that I terribly needed done and left me feeling “let down”, has led me to not have unshaking faith. In other words, in many cases, I don’t know the difference in the things that are guaranteed and the things that he might say “no” to, thus leaving me “let down”.

    Hope that’s not too honest for ya :) I need a lotta work in the old “trust God” department.

    • We’ve all had moments like that, which is why I think that question is such a popular one. At some point in everyone’s life they feel that God has let them down, broken promises or left expectations unmet. I am in a season of that right now, which is causing me to go back and reevaluate the things I thought God had said. Usually I discover that the things I feel entitled to are not promises from God, but my own rules and desires. Sometimes the road we walk is tough, but He is always faithful.

  2. Thank you for writing. What you have shared today is exactly what I needed to hear. He provides. Though I am not in the midst of a famine, fearing for lack of food to feed my family, I am in a new position in education where I feel seriously ill-equipped. He provides, despite the impossibility of the outlook. Again, I am being asked to trust as He will supply my every need. Where I lack wisdom, He will provide; where I lack experience, He is my help. Nothing is impossible for He who makes all things possible. Be encouraged, as He is using the gifts He has placed in you to bless and encourage others. Thank you again for listening to Him as you write.

    • Thankfully I have never experienced a true famine, where I question where our next meal is from, but as you illustrated there are all types of areas where we can feel depleted and in need. He does provide. Sometimes I wonder if He keeps me in a place of need because otherwise I would run off and try to do it all on my own. I don’t know if that’s biblical, but I think He and I know me too well. :)

  3. This is stunning. I am so thankful for your words this morning. With Jesus, nothing runs out. What am I wiling to sacrifice? How is He asking me to trust Him? Thank you for speaking into my heart.

    • What am I willing to sacrifice? Such a great question…or maybe, what am I unwilling to sacrifice. Haha! Those stories of the poor woman who gave her last coin to the church are interesting when they’re just stories, but writing this really made me wonder if I would have acted the same in her shoes.

  4. “Give us this day our daily bread” hung over our stove growing up. I always wondered what that meant. I took it literally as bread–the stuff you eat, but my eyes were always drawn to it and now I know; God was always calling my name.

    • I wonder how many kids grew up thinking the same thing, and not connecting it to the story of the Israelites in the desert collecting manna? I know I viewed it as a slice of wheat bread, handed to me each day. Rather, it’s the continual provision of God for our physical, spiritual and mental needs. I love how you said, “God was always calling my name.” He wants to commune with us daily, to feed our every need.

    • Thanks, Jen. It can be a challenge to trust that He is trustworthy when it’s all on the line. Thankfully, I have never known Him to leave me hanging there, but rather He provides and is faithful.

  5. Magnificent story, well told Melissa. This is a Usual Suspect-like style and I love it. It is so deep and beautiful when we look at these characters with passion as if they are real people and not just “another story” in the Bible (because they are very real). There’s emotion, passion, hurt, etc.. and you did a great job of bringing this to life. Love this. Thanks Melissa for writing.

    • I didn’t even realize how Usual Suspect-y it was until Keri mentioned it. Haha! I have always loved that series you run, because we do look at the stories from the bible as just that; stories. When we remember that real people had to live them out it becomes much more impressive.

  6. Beautiful writing, girl.
    I’ve always thought to myself, “how hard would be to give up some flour and oil?” I’ve always got those in abundance and certainly don’t need any bread around here. But, what if God asked me to give of something I don’t have in abundance? Patience? Service? Loving my enemies? The pot’s always nearly empty on those things. But, He still asks me to give, and it is He who provides the patience, the service, and the love that I need to give.

    • Thanks, Blister! :)

      “But, what if God asked me to give up something I don’t have in abundance?”

      Such a great question! You’ve got me thinking about what those would be for me…

    • Great thought, Karenee! I didn’t even think about that. We make the sacrifice and then forget to check back in with God to see how He has come through for us. Thanks for adding that!

  7. Trials really do challenge our faith, especially difficult ones. During those times, I nearly let go. Really, I still need to grow in my faith with God. Thank you so much for this very inspiring post, Melissa. God bless! :-)

    Irene

  8. You owe me a box of Kleenex. Jk. But literally I had tears coming off my cheeks- you wrote so powerfully the fear and pain and love this woman had! There are so many untold heroes.

  9. Melissa!! I’m chiming in with all the friends here. I love how you wrote this. Hey, you are a story teller, girl! Do more of this — I enjoyed it to the last drop! It made all the characters come alive. I need to make my last three cakes, Melissa – instead of saving it in crumbles, thinking it will be my last meal. Feels so special for you put this in the jam!

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