A wealthy woman showed kindness to a man of God, and in return...
2 Kings 4:11-16
One day Elisha returned to Shunem, and he went up to this upper room to rest. He said to his servant Gehazi, “Tell the woman from Shunem I want to speak to her.” When she appeared, Elisha said to Gehazi, “Tell her, ‘We appreciate the kind concern you have shown us. What can we do for you? Can we put in a good word for you to the king or to the commander of the army?’”
“No,” she replied, “my family takes good care of me.”
Later Elisha asked Gehazi, “What can we do for her?”
Gehazi replied, “She doesn’t have a son, and her husband is an old man.”
“Call her back again,” Elisha told him. When the woman returned, Elisha said to her as she stood in the doorway, “Next year at this time you will be holding a son in your arms!”
“No, my lord!” she cried. “O man of God, don’t deceive me and get my hopes up like that.”
Since I was 7 years old, I've wanted to be a professional writer. I have images in my mind of sitting in a second floor room, overlooking a body of water, typing away on my next great writing project, or walking into a bookstore and seeing my book(s) on the shelf; my name in boldface font staring back at me.
Writing is the one dream that's stayed with me through my entire life. Different interests have come and gone, but the thread that's connected them all was writing.
God has answered so many of my prayers over the past few years. I realized recently that although I have had this life long dream, I don't know that I have actually taken it to God and specifically asked him for it.
I don't know. Maybe I'm afraid it won't happen. Maybe I don't believe God is big enough to put a book worth of words in my head. Maybe I don't believe I can actually put a book on a shelf. Maybe I'm scared of rejection from publishers or of the negative feedback from critiques and readers. Maybe I'm just too comfortable carrying this dream around in my back pocket.
Maybe all of those things.
So like the woman who dreamed of having a child and would never ask for such a miracle, I don't take it to God. And if anyone told me that by next year I would have a book on a shelf in a bookstore, I would think the same thing the woman did, "Don't deceive me and get my hopes up like that."
Maybe I'm scared my dream will come true, but then be taken away from me.
2 Kings 4:18-24
One day when her child was older, he went out to help his father, who was working with the harvesters. Suddenly he cried out, “My head hurts! My head hurts!”
His father said to one of the servants, “Carry him home to his mother.”
So the servant took him home, and his mother held him on her lap. But around noontime he died. She carried him up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, then shut the door and left him there. She sent a message to her husband: “Send one of the servants and a donkey so that I can hurry to the man of God and come right back.”
“Why go today?” he asked. “It is neither a new moon festival nor a Sabbath.”
But she said, “It will be all right.”
So she saddled the donkey and said to the servant, “Hurry! Don’t slow down unless I tell you to.”
God gave this woman something she never thought she would have, and then the world took it away from her.
It's interesting that one of the very things God told Adam he would have to do in order to survive when he was cast out of the Garden of Eden is what took the woman's son. I can't help but come to the conclusion that it wasn't God who caused this bad thing to happen, but the broken world in which we live.
Perhaps even more interesting is how the woman deals with this. She could have knelt down next to his death bed and given up. But instead she took action. She immediately went back to the man of God. Was she upset? Absolutely, but she knew she had to do something.
She reminds Elisha that she didn't ask for this dream to come true. She reminds him that she didn't want to get her hopes up. But Elisha ignores her comment and they head back to the woman's home where Elisha brings the boy back to life.
Our dreams are our dreams for a reason. God has placed those things on our hearts. He wants us to have them. They are worth pursuing. If you feel like your dream is too big for you, like it's something that you can't accomplish, then get excited. You have to partner with God, and when you partner with God (when you seek him first) miracles can happen and dreams come to life.
My dream has been lying dead in a bed for a while. Perhaps it's time to talk to God about bringing it back to life.
Gather with us this Sunday. In the mean time, listen to Amanda's message on Elisha and the Woman from Shunem here.