“Did I ask you for a son, my lord?” she said. “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t raise my hopes’?” 2 Kings 4:19-28
Have you ever felt like that? You prayed for something, and – just when you finally accepted that God had answered your prayer, just when you relaxed in His love – He rips it out from under you?
Look at where this woman found hope, and go looking yourself.
This is the story of the Shunamite woman.
She’d been barren. It was a curse. Humiliating. But she’d grown accustomed to the feeling. Time had worn on as it does and left her with an aging husband and plenty of fertile land. She’d met Elisha and wanted to help the Man of God. So she spent much expense and effort to offer him his own living space in her home.
Elisha wants to reward her with a blessing in return and, as he and his servant realize the only thing she is lacking is a child of her own, he prophesies that by the same time next year, she will have a son. To their surprise, she rejects the idea!
“No, my lord!” she objected. “Please, man of God, don’t mislead your servant!”
For whatever reason (we can only guess) she was terrified to get her hopes up. But, Elisha’s words were true, and a year later she gave birth to a son. Fast forward enough years that the child is able to hang out with his dad in the fields.
And her greatest fear happens:
He said to his father, “My head! My head!”
His father told a servant, “Carry 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.
…So she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel…
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.”
(And here it is) “Did I ask you for a son, my lord?” she said. “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t raise my hopes’?” 2 Kings 4:19-28
The story doesn’t end there. Elisha returns with her, and (through some interesting prayer maneuvers) raises her son to life again. There’s some sneezing involved, and Elisha calls the woman to take her living son from Elisha’s room. All’s well that ends well, right?
But here’s the point.
Instead of blaming God and getting angry and hateful – she went right to God (well, the best connection she had to God before Christ). She fell at his feet and told him how hurt she was. It was not pretty. But it showed her heart. And God answered.
THAT IS WHAT I WANT YOU TO SEE!
God saw her hurting heart, her pain, and her willingness to boldly bring it before him without fear. And this time, He answered with grace (undeserved favor). But no matter how He answers you in this moment, He is there.
He is there with you through the hurt. The pain. The confusion. The loss of all hope. He is there with you. And He understands. Not only that, but He’s the only on who knows what’s coming up. He’s there in your past. He’s there with you now. And He’s waiting in your future. Smiling. Because He knows. He wrote Romans 8:28 for a reason. Your good. Your life.
Now. What are you hurt about? What galls you so bad that you won’t even speak to God about it? Just stop. Take a deep breath and tell him how it feels.
I am NOT promising God will answer you something as awesome as a loved one’s resurrection. But I am saying that if you are hurting, you’d better talk to the only one who knows and has already resolved the struggles in your mind. Your heavenly Father. Take it. Leave it there. Walk away in peace. He’s got this.
The end of the story that no one ever reads!
Okay, so this is so cool! Read what happens to the woman and her son years later.
The Shunammite’s Land Restored
Now Elisha had said to the woman whose son he had restored to life, “Go away with your family and stay for a while wherever you can, because the Lord has decreed a famine in the land that will last seven years.”
The woman proceeded to do as the man of God said. She and her family went away and stayed in the land of the Philistines seven years.
At the end of the seven years she came back from the land of the Philistines and went to appeal to the king for her house and land.
The king was talking to Gehazi, the servant of the man of God, and had said, “Tell me about all the great things Elisha has done.”
Just as Gehazi was telling the king how Elisha had restored the dead to life, the woman whose son Elisha had brought back to life came to appeal to the king for her house and land.
(Right? Because He’s that awesome! It gets better.)
Gehazi said, “This is the woman, my lord the king, and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” The king asked the woman about it, and she told him.
Then he assigned an official to her case and said to him, “Give back everything that belonged to her, including all the income from her land from the day she left the country until now.”
Walk in it, people. He is YOUR God. He is good. And He loves us. Praise the name of Jesus and rejoice. And go before Him when you think He’s gotten your hopes up just to dash them on the rocks of life’s pain.
Yes. It hurts right now.
But you can only see and feel right now. Go to the one who knows.
Rest in Him.