Even When It Seems Most Bleak, God Can Find A Way
11 One day when Elisha came, he went up to his room and lay down there. 12 He said to his servant Gehazi, “Call the Shunammite.” So he called her, and she stood before him. 13 Elisha said to him, “Tell her, ‘You have gone to all this trouble for us. Now what can be done for you? Can we speak on your behalf to the king or the commander of the army?'”
She replied, “I have a home among my own people.”
14 “What can be done for her?” Elisha asked.
Gehazi said, “She has no son, and her husband is old.”
15 Then Elisha said, “Call her.” So he called her, and she stood in the doorway. 16 “About this time next year,” Elisha said, “you will hold a son in your arms.”
“No, my lord!” she objected. “Please, man of God, don’t mislead your servant!”
17 But the woman became pregnant, and the next year about that same time she gave birth to a son, just as Elisha had told her.
A Hospitable Host
The Shunammite woman was a hospitable host. Every time Elijah the prophet and Gehazi his servant stopped by, she encouraged them to eat at her house. Hospitality was encouraged at that time, and she had the gift. Eventually, she convinced her husband to build a room on her roof so that when Elijah and Gehazi stopped by, they would have a place to stay. Elijah, after a period of time, summoned the Shunammite woman before him and asked her if there was something that could be done for her. She was very humble, and indicated that she had a home among her people. Although scripture doesn’t directly say so, it would appear that she was then dismissed.
A Particular Problem
Then Elisha probed further, and asked his servant Gehazi what could be done for her. Gehazi indicated that she had no son. Elijah would have known this, being a prophet of God. With her husband being old, and with no son (a male heir to inherit the property of her husband), she would not have had any protection as a widow once her husband died. This is a very serious issue for her in the culture during her life.
The Prophet Pronounces
Elijah then summoned the Shunammite woman back, and pronounced that she would, by this time next year, have a son in her arms. Elijah’s walk with God was so close, that he was able to make this pronouncement, and be assured that it would come to pass. What appears to be impossible to us is very possible to God. He is able to do anything He desires to bring about His plans and bring glory to his name.
Distraught in Disbelief
One of the most difficult things to behold is a person, who has gone for so long without something that they desperately need, has given up hope on ever having that need fulfilled. Whether it is healing from a sickness that has plagued us for decades, finding a spouse, being barren, or any other number of difficult circumstances, it is still hard to watch when the person who has given up hope is given that hope again. They will often enter into denial. They fear that if they allow this hope into their hearts, and for some reason it fails, it may finally break their spirit. They have prepared themselves for their current circumstances, and are unwilling to change, because they are certain in their hearts that God has sovereignly appointed them to suffer with this continual need without the possibility of fulfillment.
The Shunammite woman was no exception. When told she would have a son, she became distraught and reproved Elijah, a prophet of God, urging him passionately that it is wrong for him to mislead (LIE to) her about this. She had already prepared herself for the coming trials of being an abandoned widow once her husband died. She was also concerned for Elijah, for she certainly did not want to see him defile himself with what she believed to be something that was impossible in her own mind to occur – the opportunity to have a son and heir.
The Father is Faithful
But God is faithful. And at the appointed time, just as Elijah predicted, the Shunammite woman gave birth to a son an heir. For it is God who opens wombs and closes wombs. No matter how difficult, God is able to make His will done. The sun has stopped in its tracks; storms have arisen on the seas; earthquakes have opened jails – Nothing is impossible with God. And God, being perfect and complete in His nature, will ensure that everything He has purposed will come to pass.
A Qualifying Question
Let’s ask a question: Am I willing to have hope again after terrible loss or disappointment?
A short prayer of preparation:
Father in Heaven, Thank You for the hope that You have given me through the blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ. Help me, Father, to have my heart prepared for anything that You may be willing to do in my life. Help me to be open to hope again where it has been dashed on the jagged rocks of life repeatedly and with great pain, loss, and sorrow. Give me strength to trust again, and to allow myself to believe that You may want to bless me in that great pit of anger, despair, and pain. Guard my heart against bitterness for shattered dreams and expectations, and place within me the seeds of hope and trust that You desire to heal these areas of my life. Please, Lord God, do not ask me to have hope where You have no interest or desire to fulfill some desire that I may have. Desire that is put off for too long grows into disappointment. But when You tell me directly that You will do something, regardless of my past circumstances, give me to the courage to believe Your word and to endure all that is necessary to bring it about, for You cannot lie. This I ask in Jesus’ Name, Amen.