When her husband died, a poor widow was left in a frightening situation with two children to support. Unable to meet her obligations, she was threatened by creditors.
This woman was desperate and she appealed to Elisha: "Now the wife of one of the sons of the prophets cried to Elisha, 'Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that your servant feared the Lord, but the creditor has come to take my two children to be his slaves'" (2 Kings 4:1, ESV).
The fact is, God uses our dilemmas to glorify His name. For that reason, our own God-story may be formed through pain or delay. One in ten Americans is unemployed and others have had to take a reduction in pay. In some homes both spouses work two jobs to keep from losing everything they own.
Perhaps you have reasoned in your own dilemma, "If I don't have a breakthrough soon, it's over. I need a miracle just to survive." I picture this widow having those very thoughts.
Elisha asked her, "What shall I do for you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?" (4:2, NKJV). He was not asking her to sell her valuables for cash; actually, she didn't have any valuables left. Elisha was saying, in essence, "God can meet you just as you are. If you have faith, He can multiply even the smallest thing you have."
The widow answered, "All I have is one jar of oil." We know from Scripture that oil represents God's blessing and provision. At this point Elisha gave her a strange instruction: "Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don't ask for just a few" (4:3, NIV).
She did as the prophet instructed. Then Elisha said, "Then go inside and shut the door behind you. . . . Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side" (4:4, NIV). Once more she followed Elisha's word. As she poured oil from her own jar, it filled a borrowed jar. The same thing happened again as the next borrowed jar was also filled. It happened again with the next. And the next. There was an endless supply of oil!
Here is the point: When God tells us He has our needed supply, it is not just a meager amount. God has everything we need. His ability to meet our situation is endless.