Faith to Believe
The Shunnamite woman of 2 Kings 4 fascinates me. We can learn so much from her.
She Saw a Need and Did Something About It
She said to her husband, “I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.” 2 Kings 4:9-10
She noticed Elisha passed through their area often and need a place to stay. So she provided that. It wasn't about what she could get from Elisha. She simply saw a need and filled it.
What need can you fill?
She Experienced Doubt
One day when Elisha came, he went up to his room and lay down there. He said to his servant Gehazi, “Call the Shunammite.” So he called her, and she stood before him. 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.”
“What can be done for her?” Elisha asked.
Gehazi said, “She has no son, and her husband is old.”
Then Elisha said, “Call her.” So he called her, and she stood in the doorway. “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!”
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. 2 Kings 4:11-17
The Shunnamite woman wanted a child. With her empty arms and disappointment of heart, she feared to even allow a fleeting thought of motherhood to take root in her mind because it was simply too much to take. So she protested. She wanted to be sure Elisha spoke the truth. She knew him to be a man of God, a man who had performed many miracles. She had heard the stories. It was why she made a special room for him. But to believe that she, a barren woman with an old husband, would have a child, seemed too much to bear.
Even so, God heard. By his prophet’s word, he promised. And it was fulfilled. In spite of the doubt. The Lord honored her faithfulness.
What causes you to doubt God? Or maybe are you just afraid to hope anymore?
In a Crisis She Knew Where to Turn
The child grew, and one day he went out to his father, who was with the reapers. He said to his father, “My head! My head!”
His father told a servant, “Carry him to his mother.” After the servant had lifted him up and carried him to his mother, the boy sat on her lap until noon, and then he died. She went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, then shut the door and went out.
She called her husband and said, “Please send me one of the servants and a donkey so I can go to the man of God quickly and return.”
“Why go to him today?” he asked. “It’s not the New Moon or the Sabbath.”
“That’s all right,” she said.
She saddled the donkey and said to her servant, “Lead on; don’t slow down for me unless I tell you.” So she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel. 2 Kings 4:18-25
The Shunnamite woman was in a crisis. Her son was dead. But she didn't call the mourners. She didn't make funeral arrangements. No, she went to Elisha, the one place she knew she could find help.
When he saw her in the distance, the man of God said to his servant Gehazi, “Look! There’s the Shunammite! Run to meet her and ask her, ‘Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is your child all right?’”
“Everything is all right,” she said.
When she reached the man of God at the mountain, she took hold of his feet. Gehazi came over to push her away, but the man of God said, “Leave her alone! She is in bitter distress, but the Lord has hidden it from me and has not told me why.”
“Did I ask you for a son, my lord?” she said. “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t raise my hopes’?”
Elisha said to Gehazi, “Tuck your cloak into your belt, take my staff in your hand and run. Don’t greet anyone you meet, and if anyone greets you, do not answer. Lay my staff on the boy’s face.”
But the child’s mother said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you.” So he got up and followed her. 2 Kings 4:26-30
She persisted. She went straight to the source. She didn't stop to share with Elisha's servant. And she didn't stop until Elisha agreed to come with her. She knew where to turn. And she knew to stand her ground until she got what she needed.
Sometimes the Miracle Takes Perseverance
Gehazi went on ahead and laid the staff on the boy’s face, but there was no sound or response. So Gehazi went back to meet Elisha and told him, “The boy has not awakened.”
When Elisha reached the house, there was the boy lying dead on his couch. He went in, shut the door on the two of them and prayed to the Lord. Then he got on the bed and lay on the boy, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, hands to hands. As he stretched himself out on him, the boy’s body grew warm. Elisha turned away and walked back and forth in the room and then got on the bed and stretched out on him once more. The boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes.
Elisha summoned Gehazi and said, “Call the Shunammite.” And he did. When she came, he said, “Take your son.” She came in, fell at his feet and bowed to the ground. Then she took her son and went out. 2 Kings 4:27-37
Sometimes the miracle isn’t instantaneous. Sometimes it takes some time. Sometimes it takes standing on the promises of God and believing He is good and His plans are sure. Sometimes it simply requires us to keep going, keep believing, keep praying. The miracle is coming. Don't give up!