Toil and the culmination of years revealed more than the husband’s age… beside a wife who had long given up. Accepting sorrow and disgrace, days at home void of childish laughter, hearts empty of all but longing.
But in a simple act, after providing a place of rest, and supplying a material need—pretty ordinary really—generosity returned. And a baby was born. He grew into boyhood, becoming the center of their devotion, the promise of a future they had long abandoned.
We don’t know how many years passed. Five? Eight? Nine? But one summer, they met with the unexpected. Their only child fell sick, and after a few hours, died. In her arms, on his mother’s lap.
And as warm flesh turned cold, death appeared to triumph.
Such a brief period of joy perfected was now over. Gone.
Did she waver between giving in to bitterness and giving thanks? I have to wonder.
What awful thoughts run through our brains in moments that overwhelm, dashing all life and hope and delight, taunting and tempting to cast off belief, nudging us to curse our God.
I have struggled. My faith has wavered. And I have voiced grumblings I came to regret. But the woman living in Shunem did not give in to carnal or careless promptings.
Perhaps her resolve in finally receiving the gift of motherhood, combined with the prophet’s words, supported her as waves of sorrow pounded without stopping. Other women had watched their dead loved ones raised to life, and she would, too. While sorrow bulged at the doors of her heart, faith stood firm.
She laid the lifeless body on the prophet’s bed, and prepared to go. To find the man on whom God’s Spirit rested… to seek the promise of life, and hope restored.
All is well, she assured her husband. Sparing him the shock, she said nothing of the crushing circumstance. Instead, she pursued her mission, allowing faith to guide her way.
Drive, and drive fast. My comfort is not important…
When reaching the prophet, she wasted no words.
Didn’t I tell you not to deceive me? It would be better to be childless, than to be given a son only to have him taken away. Such a loss I did not ask for, and I cannot bear… will not accept…
Here we find a summer of the unexpected. A trial of misery so not wanted and undeserved.
A thin thread exists between bold faith that asks the impossible, and impertinence demanding its own way.
At once the prophet ordered his servant to go. Elisha followed, with the woman beside him. And no one rested until all was truly well.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Mid too many summers of the unexpected in her life, she learned to duck whenever something new approached, figuring, as in the past, it was another blow. Days she could only hobble through her tasks, nursing bruises and battered limbs, her spirit grew calloused from disappointments accumulating over time.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. – Proverbs 13:12
Is God unjust? A cruel taskmaster? A merciless dictator?
Has God said He’s a God of love… a God that cares…? the enemy whispers in summers and winters and endless seasons of the unexpected. Then why would He allow this…?
As the woman of Shunem looked past apparent circumstances, so this woman attempts to keep believing, through the storms, mid disappointments, even when all appears lost and the heart within sinks past hoping.
Storms have come, but storms have also gone. And her faith is rewarded as sunlight breaks through parting clouds.
Not only rewarded, but faith triumphs, as wounds caused by darts dipped in unbelief occur less often, and callouses are rubbed smooth.
But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. – Hebrews 11:6
As God’s love proves beyond patient, she learns that His love is also good. Is always faithful and resolute. Even when life is snatched from her grasp, when hope looks only to be a mirage… and even when answers appear to contradict her heart’s desires, He rewards those who cling to faith in Him.