ast year I did a lengthy series on the life of Elijah, including a study of his ministry to the widow of Zarephath.
While meditating on Luke 4:26 recently, I was thinking about that passage again, and it prompted an additional thought:
When Elijah arrived, that woman and her little boy were on the verge of starvation. She was gathering a few sticks for fuel for what she was convinced would be the last meal she and her son would have before they died. But God graciously provided for the needs of that widow, her son, and Elijah for many weeks after thatnot by giving them an overflow of abundance, but by miraculously providing a new handful of flour and a small portion of oil each day, so that their supplies, while never in surplus, were always sufficient for their daily needs.
That is a perfect picture of how God normally dispenses His grace. He gives us sufficient grace without giving us a surplus of grace. "His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is [His] faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22-23). "He giveth more grace" (James 4:6)but He dispenses His grace in accord with our present needsoften in handfuls and small measures, and rarely in superabundant portions. But the grace He gives is always sufficient.
Furthermore, sometimes, when God does want to lavish grace upon us in superabundant measure, the prelude to that is a dark and difficult turn of providence. Suffering is the pathway to glory. Hardship is the container into which God pours His grace. The larger the vessel, the greater the measure of grace.