Have you ever had your heart broken? Have you ever felt let down and hopeless? I can recall several times where fear and distrust gripped my heart so tight that I thought I would die. I lost hope of being able to try again or trust again. I didn’t want to put myself in a position that could lead to more hardships, so I ran away to protect myself. As much as I wanted something, I couldn’t and wouldn’t allow myself to “go there.” It hurt too much.
I felt like the lady in 2 Kings 4:8-37. It’s the story of the Shunammite woman’s son being restored to life and it is definitely one of my favorites in the Bible. Elisha, the prophet, went to Shumen where a well-to-do woman lived. Whenever Elisha passed the area, he stopped by her place to eat. He eventually wanted to know what could be done for her because she had been so kind. When asked, “What can be done for you?” she replied, “I have a home among my own people.”
In other words, “I don’t want anything nor I do I feel I need anything.” So, Elisha asked about the situation again, almost as if ignoring her. Elisha knew that something deeper lay beneath the surface. He detected a desire within her. Despite her words, he saw straight through her and said:
“About this time next year, you will hold a son in your arms.”
What did she reply when Elisha said this? “No, my lord!” she objected. “Please, man of God, don’t mislead your servant!”
Mislead your servant? Why wasn’t she excited to hear that news? The woman may have been frightened or shocked but why does she feel mislead? Or lied to? What happened?”
Maybe she thought she was too old to have children. Maybe she felt like God had let her down in the past. Maybe she had tried before to have children and when it didn’t work she had given up. Maybe someone had prophesied to her years before about her having children and it didn’t happen. She lost her hope. Then when Elisha mentioned the son she responded in shock and fear because she didn’t want to be mislead again.
Beloved — does that sound familiar to you? Is there something in your heart that hurts and you don’t want it mentioned? What is that area where you don’t want to be mislead?
When someone brings up your deepest need or desire, do you shrug it off with a flat, “I have a home with my own people. I’m fine.” Are you the Shunammite woman? What has happened to your hope? The thought of the “thing” or someone mentioning “the thing” makes you cringe because you just don’t want to hear about it anymore!
Sometimes, we can keep doing things over and over because it appears we never get tired of trying. However, there comes a day when the trying just becomes just that… trying. We feel mislead and let down. We don’t have hope anymore. We don’t see the end result like we used to see it.
The rest of this story is quite interesting. The Shunammite woman ends up having the son that was prophesied only to find that later he would become ill and die.
Wait a minute?
Didn’t she first not want the son supposedly, and then she has him only for him to die? Has that ever happened to you? You admit your desire, surrender, and then it fails? You fought the desire because of disappointment and then after you manage to get back up again and be happy, it comes, and then bam … it dies. That “thing” dies in your arms.
I wonder if that’s what was going through the Shunammite woman’s mind at this time? Perhaps it was also everything that led up to the moment where Elisha first told her she was going to have a son. Now, she is enduring this pain.
Trust and the ability to not give up are powerful. Even though she saw her son was dead, the Shunammite woman still went to see the man of God (Elisha), and the situation completely turned around. Her son was brought back to life! The situation that was once dead, now lived.
I love this story because it is an honest one of past pain, current denial of that pain, and loss of hope for the future. Sometimes hurts can go so deep that it appears to take the very breath out of us if we allow it. It damages us and if it keeps happening enough times or hits hard enough, it can kill your hope. It will kill your faith. It will kill your trust.
Beloved, let this story remind you to not give up hope and not allow what you have seen or felt to discourage you from seeing a beautiful end result in your life.
Yes, Our Lord — RAISE OUR HOPES.