August 3, 2020

How to Handle a Crisis: Five Tips from an Ancient Widow

Have you ever wished you could have a long chat over coffee with someone whose story you read in Scripture?

For example, when naysayers discourage me from doing something I believe God’s called me to, I’d love to ask Noah how he handled all the jeering as he constructed a monstrous boat in preparation for a flood no one else believed would come.

As I prepare for an intimidating situation, I’d like to ask Moses about standing before Pharaoh (repeatedly) to ask him to release his slave labor force.

When I’m hesitant to obey God, it would likely be helpful to have a little conversation with Jonah.

The truth is, God recorded all we really need to know from each of these stories. Like good examples or warning sign posts, those we meet in Scripture offer advice we can implement today.

So, given the ongoing global pandemic, the social unrest, and the resulting economic upheaval, I thought this would be a good time to “ask” an ancient widow for advice on handling a crisis. Her story gives us at least five principles to follow.

We meet this woman in 2 Kings 4:1-7. Her husband, a prophet, had died, and his creditors wanted to take her two sons away as payment for their father’s debts.

This sounds pretty horrible. She’s already lost her husband and now fears the emotional toil of being separated from her sons. And surely she was concerned for their treatment.

But her crisis extended beyond these concerns. In those days, women couldn’t just go out and get jobs. Her sons were her very livelihood. Her situation was dire.

In her distress, she cried out to Elisha, a prophet known as a man of God, for help.

Elisha asked her what she has in her house, and she replied, “Nothing. Nothing but a small jar of olive oil.”

Elisha told her to go collect jars from neighbors, as many as she could find, and then start pouring the oil into the jars. As the woman followed Elisha’s instructions, the oil filled all of the jars she and her sons had gathered.

Elisha then told her to sell the oil, pay off her debts, and live off of the remaining proceeds. What a turn of events!

What can we learn from this timeworn account?

1. Ask for help from godly counselors.

The widow in this story knew Elisha was known as a holy man of God. Because of this, she knew she could trust his advice, even when it sounded ludicrous to human logic. Gather jars and start to pour? Well, yes, if Elisha said so!

Who do you go to for advice in a crisis? Can you trust their counsel?

2. Start with what you have.

Elisha asked the widow what she had. Though a little olive oil didn’t seem like a tremendous resource, in God’s hands, it was more than enough.

It’s like the little boy’s lunch Jesus used to feed 5,000 men plus the women and children who were listening to His teachings one day. God spoke the universe into being. He surely could have fed the crowd from nothing. But He allowed a boy to offer what he had.

Often, God has given us resources and experiences in order to prepare us for trials that lie ahead. Did you ever notice that after killing Goliath with a stone and a sling, David used Goliath’s sword in future battles? Victory in one battle offered tools for the next.

While we may be tempted to focus on what we appear to lack, it is wiser to recall the things God has already given us which may be useful in this situation.

What resources (finances, relationships, experiences, skills) has God given you?

3. Make room for a miracle.

When Elisha told the widow to gather jars, he instructed her to ask all of her neighbors and added, “Don’t ask for just a few.”

Imagine if the widow had only gathered two or three jars. When they were filled, she surely would have regretted her limited obedience.

Instead, she demonstrated faith by gathering so many jars that the oil produced had her set for life.

How can you demonstrate faith that God is able to restore your situation?

4. Allow others to experience the miracle.

Do you ever wonder why Elisha specifically directed the widow to take her sons into the room with her while she poured the oil? I believe it was so her sons would see the miracle take place. Their faith would be strengthened as they watched God provide the payment for the debt that they were going to have to pay in servitude.

Who do you allow into your story so that their faith can be strengthened by it?

5. See that your debt is paid and then live!

After the widow paid off her debt, there were funds left from her oil sales to cover her living expenses.

God typically provides an abundance of what we need. He feeds the 5,000 and gives twelve baskets of leftovers, too. He provided the Israelites with more manna in the desert than they could eat. He offered up His Son Jesus so we would not only have grace sufficient to pay our debts, but also for every day after we come to faith in Him!

If you’ve accepted Jesus’ offer to pay your sin debt, how are you now living in the grace “leftover?”

There’s no doubt: these are trying times. But as we follow the example of this faith-filled widow, we will find our God’s resources to be more than enough.

ComeBack Ministry’s Home expresses their thanks for all of the technological devices that have made distance learning possible.

This month, as you pray for The Boaz Project, please:

  1. Continue to ask God to protect the health of our children in Russia, India, and Kenya, as well as their caregivers throughout this pandemic.
  2. Thank God for the resources He has provided through the Boaz community to care for the increased regulations, prices, and social unrest as a result of the pandemic.
  3. Pray that Joshua would heal after being beaten as a result of racism.
  4. Ask God for wisdom and creativity for our staff in Russia as we explore new means of caring for orphans, including ways to prevent them from entering the state-run institutions.

Believing in Miracles,


  1. David Graffenberger says:

    Excellent, AMEN! AMEN! and AMEN!

  2. Jill says:

    I can get overwhelmed with the way I see things going in our country and world. I am concerned, but what difference can I make? But you have reminded me that all I need to do is start with what I have, and God has already given me resources for such a time as this. God will use my small efforts and fill up the rest so that it is more than enough, for His purposes and His glory.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Read more from our blog.

Because God knew that abandoned children would need help to survive, He tells us to actively meet the needs of orphans in James 1:27.

If you also feel the weight of this responsibility and the desire to make a real difference, consider partnering with us. Through our innovative in-home care model, specialized caregiver training, and humanitarian aid, you’ll help children not just survive—but truly thrive.

When you choose to partner with The Boaz Project, you'll restore hope, ensure a brighter future through education, and share the love of Jesus with children who desperately need it.

Just imagine the impact you can have—from saving a child from the horrors of the streets to helping them become community leaders, educators, and nurturers of the next generation.

Join the James 1:27 Circle Membership


Get Prayer Updates & News

What does an orphan mission trip include?

  • Hotel accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Application support and fees for your Visa
  • In-country language assistance
  • All meals in-country
  • Ministry curriculum and supplies
  • Cross-cultural training and preparation
  • Trip insurance
  • International medical insurance
  • Fundraising assistance

Apply for a mission trip.

Orphan Advocate Training Certification Levels

Level 1

Learn about the mission and vision of The Boaz Project through activities such as watching an Encounter webinar, exploring our website, and following us on social media. You will also have the opportunity to meet and interact with your Orphan Advocate Training Coach, who will help you as you go through the levels.

Level 2

Gain more insight into the realities of the orphan crisis through reading "The Orphan’s Abba" and visiting The Boaz Project YouTube page. You will also meet The Boaz Project staff.

Level 3

Grow in your understanding of the orphan crisis, meet some houseparents by reading their stories, and create your own "Pick 2" with options like watching a movie and completing a creative project utilizing your unique skill set.

Level 4

Enhance your knowledge of healthy attachments for orphans, watch a webinar about Eastern Europe’s institutional orphanage system, and visit the Boaz office virtually or in person.

Level 5

Utilize all of the knowledge you have gained throughout training to develop methods based on your personal experience to share the mission and vision of The Boaz Project with others. Read a portion of our first level Houseparent Trauma Training and use your unique skills to impact orphans with a special project. Completing Level 5 gives you the option to apply to become an OAT Coach and/or a Regional Coordinator for The Boaz Project.


Do I have to live near Greenwood, Indiana to complete the training?

No! This certification is intentionally created to allow opportunities for anyone in any location to fully participate.

How much of a time commitment is it?

This is completely up to you. The entire process is self-directed. There are no deadlines, and you may take as much or as little time as you need to complete each course.

Can I do this training with my spouse? Or a friend?

Yes! Going through the training with a spouse or friend can provide accountability and motivation. As you progress, you may be able to accomplish more together!

How much will it cost?

All Orphan Advocate Training courses are free to join! While you may choose to spend money while completing some projects, there are only minimal costs involved (such as a book or a few supplies) depending on which course you choose to do.

Is there an age requirement to become a Certified Orphan Advocate Trainee?

This would be answered on a case-by-case basis. This would also be open to middle schoolers or high schoolers looking to complete volunteer hours (i.e. National Honor Society) or build college applications. We always encourage young people to be involved if they feel led by God to do so!

What if I don’t have any social media accounts?

We will adjust your requirements to accommodate you and provide different opportunities to engage.

If I complete the five-level Orphan Advocate Training Certification, can I put it on my resume or LinkedIn profile?

Yes! When you complete each level, you will receive a certification that you can use to enhance your professional profile and to show involvement in community service.

Will I be able to get a signed letter to verify my volunteer hours?

We are sorry that we cannot verify volunteer hours that are done outside of the office or an event due to the fact that these hours are not supervised. However, we can write about the quality of work that was done, your commitment level, and the training courses achieved. We can also say that your self-reported, unsupervised hours fit into the typical number of hours that are usual for that course.

How do I get started?

If you think you would like to begin Orphan Advocate Training, please complete the form below, and you’ll be assigned an OAT Coach. Once your coach reviews your information, he/she will send you an email with your next steps!

Who do I contact if I have any other questions?

Please complete the form below or contact with any questions.

Corporate Sponsorship Levels

Company logo in all event programs
Company thanked by name at start of each event
Shared table provided for your promotional items at events  
Company name and logo displayed on the office sponsorship wall  
Published interview article in The Boaz Project newsletter  
Social media (Instagram/Facebook) promotions during the year  
Event day materials read "The Boaz Project's (event name) sponsored by (your company name)" for one year  
Private table provided for your promotional items at events with table tents  
Exclusive company mentions in promotional event emails  

Urgent Needs & Announcements

This is the heading.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

This is the heading.

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.

Join our Prayer Team