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How do we survive heartbreak?

I don’t want you to think

that I’m assuming your current state of heart-brokenness is a small thing.

Because I’m not.

Anytime we lose something valuable—

something or someone we’re attached to—

our heart hurts.

And when our heart hurts,

we hurt all over.

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But, without seeming calloused,

by remembering that others have endured hardships,

and survived,

and come out stronger in the end,

we can be encouraged—hugely—

we can be, should be finding hope

and the reassurance we need to not give up,

(or go berserk by doing something stupid).

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

The power of a story can influence change,

transform a life, a generation of multiple lives.

Yet, the truth is, when that story is real,

the power is multiplied a hundred times over.

Such are the stories between the covers of God’s Word,

on the pages of letters, journals, books and biographies copied,

printed and passed on through the centuries—

real stories about ordinary men and women,

tales of heartbreak and heroism,

accounts of flesh and blood individuals who struggled in their day

just as you and I struggle in ours…

In ancient times a woman lived in the Israelite town of Shunem,

south of Nazareth,

where a preacher (and his servant) walked by on his way to and from

wherever he was going, in serving his God,

in ministering to God’s people.

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A prominent woman in the community,

she and her husband lacked nothing materially or socially.

As she noticed Elisha’s pattern of regularly coming through her town

she suggested to her husband

that they build a room, add a second story to their home,

where the preacher and his servant could stay whenever they needed.

The builders were hired,

the work was done.

And the next time Elisha came through,

this gracious woman informed him and persuaded him

to come and rest awhile,

to dine with them and be refreshed.

So he did.

After a time, having become familiar with the couple,

one day while Elisha rested,

he started thinking of how he might show his appreciation

for their hospitality.

When his servant brought the woman upstairs to see Elisha, he asked her,

Look, you have been concerned for us with all this care. What can I do for you? Shall I speak on your behalf to the king…?  –  II Kings 4

In quiet humility, she told him she was content with her station in life.

After retreating to her own living space

Elisha still wondered,

still wanted to repay her kindness…

then his servant spoke up,

Actually, she has no son, and her husband is old.

That’s it!

Elisha again had his servant bring the woman to him.

Around this time next year you will embrace a son.

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Such good news! She would be thrilled!

But she wasn’t.

No, my lord. Man of God, do not lie to your maidservant!

The woman had no children,

not even one,

and evidently her husband was much older than she…

all hopes for a family, for an heir to carry on his name, his lineage,

had disappeared years ago.

How many times had she hoped

and prayed

and prepared in expectation,

only to be heartbroken over her barrenness?

Don’t tease me like this, she begged. Don’t dangle before me the impossible, when I have already spent a lifetime grieving, a lifetime wrestling, resisting, struggling to accept God’s will…

Yet, within a year the promise came true—

she gave birth to a son.

Wow!

To be continued…

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