The Gift That Was Received Twice
One day the circuit-riding preacher, Elisha, and his traveling companion, Jake, came into the sleepy little town of Shunem. A wealthy woman, who lived there with her husband, invited the preacher and his companion to stay for chicken and dumplin’s. In fact, every time the preacher came to town, this woman insisted upon having him over for dinner. One day she asked her husband if they could build a little room for him to stay in when he comes to town. In it they would put a bed, a table, a stool, and a lamp, and so it would have everything he needs. Her husband agreed and built the room as she requested.
The preacher was filled with gratitude for this woman’s generosity and asked what he could do to repay her kindness. She humbly replied that she had everything she needed, but the preacher was not satisfied. He asked his companion for a suggestion. Jake had noticed that the couple had no children and that her husband is old. So Elisha went to the woman and prophesied that in a year’s time she would have a son. She didn’t know what to say! Could it be? “Please don’t mock me, sir,” she said. But sure enough, within a year she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy!
Time passed, and the boy grew. When he was old enough, he went out to work with his father in the fields. One morning he got a terrible headache, so his dad sent him inside the house to his mother. She rocked the little fellow in her lap until noon, and then he died. Calmly she carried the lifeless form of her son into the preacher’s room and laid him on the bed, then walked out and shut the door behind her. Then she called to her husband in the field, saying, “Please send me one of the young men and a donkey, so that I can run up to the preacher right quick.” Her husband replied, “Why do you want to go today? It’s not a holiday, is it?” He didn’t even think to ask about their son. She simply said, “All will be well.”
So she saddled the donkey and told the servant, “Ride like the devil’s after us, and don’t stop unless I say so.” The servant obeyed, and they covered the distance, roughly twenty miles, in record time. The preacher saw her coming from a distance, as she was kicking up quite a bit of dust, and he sent Jake out to greet her and to find out if all was well.
As instructed, Jake asked, “Is it well with you? and your husband? and the child?”
The woman answered, “It is well.”
Nevertheless, she pressed forward, and when she reached the man of God, she knelt down and took him by the feet, crying bitterly. At home she had been calm, maybe in shock, but the shock had worn off and the furious ride had coincided with a surge in her emotions. Jake wanted to pull her off of him, but the preacher said, “Leave her be. Her soul is bitter within her, and the Lord has hidden it from me.”
Then the woman spoke, tears streaming down her face. “Did I desire a son? Did I not say, ‘Please don’t mock me’?”
Right away the preacher commanded Jake to go to the woman’s house, taking his own walking stick, and lay it on the child. Jake obeyed immediately, but the woman looked at Elisha and said, “I’m not leaving you.” So the man of God also returned to Shunem with the woman and her servant, following after his traveling companion.
Jake arrived first and found the lifeless form of the boy lying where his mother had left him. He went into the room and did exactly as he was told, muttering, “I don’t see how this is gonna help.” And sure enough, nothing happened. When Elisha got there, he sent Jake out, shut the door behind him, and prayed earnestly to the Lord. God did not move instantly, but He did move, and He brought life back into the body of that little boy. Elisha helped him off the bed, opened the door, and delivered him alive into the arms of a beaming mother. She had received her son alive a second time!
This story is an adaptation of 2 Kings 4:8-37.
Faith or Sight?
Why couldn’t Gehazi (i.e. Jake) revive the boy? I would like to suggest that he lacked the faith to believe it could be done. His very name means “valley of sight,” and there would be other times when he would be hindered by a lack of faith. The Bible very clearly tells us that we need to walk by faith, and not by sight (2 Cor. 5:7).
It Is Well
How could this woman say “It is well” when her young child lay dead? Notice at first she said, “It shall be well,” and a few hours later she said, “It is well.” Unlike Gehazi, this woman had faith. She trusted God. In spite of the fact that her emotions soared, clearly her faith grew. Perhaps she believed that her child would live again, and perhaps she knew that he was safe in the presence of the Redeemer. One thing is certain, that whether you live or die, if you live in Christ or die in Christ, all is well.
It was this same peace that enabled Horatio G. Spafford to pen the words to the hymn “It Is Well with My Soul” when his four daughters were lost at sea, and his wife was saved alone.
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
It is well with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.
But, Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul!
And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.
❧ ❧ ❧
Next week: Hannah
Photo courtesy of estall of Pixabay
“It Is Well with My Soul” is in the public domain. Lyrics courtesy of Timeless Truths