By Mark Bell
“Now I know for sure that you are a Prophet,” she told him afterward, “and that whatever you say is from the Lord!” (1 Kings 17:24, The Living Bible Paraphrase)
When I received and accepted the assignment to write this little article on the word “gratitude”, I did something that I have always done in my “ministry life” . . . I stopped and prayed and asked the Spirit for His word from the Word.
The story of the widow of the village of Zarephath came to my heart and mind.
Her story has not left me.
“Now I know for sure you are a Prophet from the Lord and whatever you say is from the Lord.”
Knowing You, Jesus,
There is no greater thing.
You’re my all,
You’re the best,
You’re my joy,
And I love You, Lord.
The word gratitude, the way of gratitude, the awesomeness of the word gratitude came alive in my heart and mind with the widow when she gave her testimony found in her words “from the Lord”.
The Prophet was sent to live (here the word live is used) in her village (vs. 8-9). From hiding to living, from depending on the ravens for food to eating with the widow and her son, in her home.
The problem was (vs. 11-12) that when the Prophet showed up, she was preparing her last meal for herself and her son. The meal was to be prepared. The meal was to be eaten and then they were both to die. She had only enough food for this last meal.
The solution for her was (vs. 13-17) the Lord, through his Prophet, His provision (for no matter how much they used v. 16) food was always on the table in her household.
Was she filled up with gratitude? No doubt. All was well as long as she had God filling up her containers. (v. 14)
Thankful. Grateful. She had life sustaining food in her household. But then suddenly, one day, it ended. Her son became sick and died. (v. 17)
The never-ending source of life means nothing to the household, especially to mom, to the Prophet, and now to her son.
The widow travelled immediately to the Prophet (v. 18) and even the Prophet seemed somewhat confused (v. 20) by the death of her son.
The deep emotions of the Prophet are seen in his actions and words. One time. Two times. Three times. (v. 21)
“And the Lord heard the Prophet’s prayer; and the spirit of the child returned (do not miss the fact that the child was dead) and he became alive again!” (v. 23)
The Prophet . . . took him and gave him . . . to his mother.
“See! He’s alive!” he beamed. (v. 23)
Beaming equals gratitude. Deepest of the deep. Uncontrollable. I’m about to burst. Gratitude.
And the “new” mother, she now knows . . . “And that whatever you say is from the Lord” . . . Receiving the son back equals gratitude. Knowing equals gratitude. The deepest of the deep accepting this precious gift into her heart and into her life. Gratitude.
Gratitude. Time and time again I have heard family members, especially moms, say to the officers and the staff of the Adult Rehabilitation Centers the simple statement “Words cannot express the gratitude that I have for the work that you have done. You have given my son back to me.”
And just as often, I have watched the officers and the staff of the Centers as they have “beamed” and I have heard their words of deepest gratitude for the fact that the Lord was and is with us.
**All Bible quotes come from The Living Bible Paraphrase. This article was written on Mother’s Day, May 8, 2016,
As Adult Rehabilitation Center Commander for The Salvation Army in the USA Southern Territory, Lt. Colonel Mark Bell and his wife Lt. Colonel Alice Bell, lead the ministry of 24 rehabilitation centers that are changing the lives of men and women in addictions recovery and their families.