In 2 Kings 4:1-7, we have an amazing passage about Elisha and a widow. She began to share her story with Elisha, and it was a tale of hurt, brokenness and disappointment. Her husband had died. That one thing alone would be tragic enough, but her story gets even worse. Not only was her husband gone, but she was saddled with debt far beyond her ability to pay.

If all of this weren’t bad enough, she was approached by the creditor who threatened her, saying, “If you don’t pay this debt back immediately, I’m going to take your two sons and make them my slaves until they pay off that debt through hard labor.”

Here she had a choice to become frozen in cynicism and say to herself, “I prayed for my husband’s healing, and he’s dead. I prayed for this debt to be gone, and I’m in more debt than I’ve ever been before. Why would I believe that my sons are going to be rescued? So many things I’ve prayed for haven’t happened.”

Once you become cynical, the door often closes. The cynic rarely prays and even more rarely believes in God’s power to work. It’s like when Jesus went back to his own hometown. People looked at him skeptically and dismissed his power because Jesus was the local carpenter. As a result, scripture tells us, “He could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief” (Mark 6:5-6, ESV).

Fortunately for this woman in 2 Kings, she believed in God’s word through his prophet Elisha, and the Lord worked an incredible miracle in her life.

I may have seen some unanswered prayers in my time. I may have gone through some hurts in life, but I know that God hears me, and I know that he’s ready to fill my hands that I hold open to him. That tiny seed of belief is all that’s needed. “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you” (Luke 17:6).

All it takes is a mustard seed of faith to overcome a life of cynicism.