Did you come to remind me of my sin? 1Kings 17:18b (NIV). The widow from Zarephath was a cynic, a woman full of doubt and self-pity. One, above all, who did not understand the God she served (1 Kings 17: 9-24).
When the water dried up from the brook Cherith, God told Elijah that he had chosen a widow from Zarephath to provide for him. God could have selected any number of persons or ways to feed Elijah but for reasons he knew, God chose to bless this woman. He wanted her to know that he had forgiven her and was still with her.
When Elijah first meets the widow, she is gathering sticks to make a fire on which to cook her last meal using her last portions of flour and oil, for her last day on earth, according to her. She told Elijah that after the meal she and her son would lie down and die.
This woman is unlike most women I know. The average woman might get fed up with life for herself but she is not going to see her child die of hunger. Most women would rather starve themselves, beg or even give away their child to someone able and willing to care for the child. They would miss their meal that day and rather save it two days for the child. This woman was different; she had given up on herself and on life and didn't even seem able to think clearly.
Even after God sent Elijah and saved her and her child from death, she did not believe Elijah or trust God. She is still focusing on the past. Only in verse 24 does she trust, when she makes her final comment to Elijah 'Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of the Lord from your mouth is the truth.'
This woman had obviously committed some sin in her early years for which she had not forgiven herself. She seemed to have been thinking that she deserved all the evil that had come upon her - maybe her husband's death and her poverty and imminent starvation. She felt that God had something against her and even though God in his love had given her hope and a brand new opportunity to be blessed, the doubts remained in her heart.
But no one knew what was in her heart until her son died. Then she accused Elijah: 'What do you have against me, man of God? Did you come to remind me of my sin and kill my son?' It was out finally. God had taken a long route to let her get to the hurt and bitterness inside of her and heal her. God had forgiven her of that sin, whatever it was, but she could neither forgive herself nor forget it. God knew that all along, yet, he did not condemn her, nor leave her alone. Instead, he sent his prophet to minister to her and heal her.
Remember, God does not hold grudges. 'As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us' (Psalms 103:12 NIV).