There could never be enough money to heal a wounded heart. There could never be enough friends to replace the loss of a child. There could never be enough “stuff” to replace a broken spirit. For one woman in the bible, her name unknown except for the Shunammite Woman, her hospitable heart, love for God’s travelers and her open arms for those in ministry brought a well known prophet to her home. Even though her love for those in need, her generosity spoke volumes and her wealth enabled her to do many good deeds, only the faith and belief in God could save her dying son.
Galatians 6:6 scribes, “Anyone who receives instruction in the word must share all good things with his instructor.” This Shunammite woman shared all her good things with the prophet Elisha. “One day Elisha went to Shunem. And a well-to-do woman was there, who urged him to stay for a meal. So whenever he came by, he stopped there to eat. She said to her husband, ‘I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him. Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.’” (2 Kings 4:8-11).
Lydia was as gracious to the Apostle Paul after receiving her baptism in Philippi, “When she (Lydia) and all the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. ‘If you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my house.’ And she persuaded us.” (Acts 16:15) After Paul and Silas were released from prison, the Lord led these men to Lydia’s house where they met with the brothers and encouraged them. (Acts 16:40) The Lord’s servants work hard and need refreshment.
Elisha was very gracious and thankful for the hospitality of the Shunammite woman. I love how 2 Kings 4:11 reads, “One day when Elisha came, he went up to his room and lay down there.” The hospitality this woman offered God’s prophet was full of love, comfort, warmth and ease. Elisha knew this was his room, his place to rest when he came to Shunem and felt completely at ease. So at ease and thankful, he sends his servant to call the woman and sees something she lacks, a son. This sweet, generous woman was barren.
The next year, joy like no other is experienced by this Shunammite woman, she gives birth to a son, just as Elisha had told her (2 Kings 4:17). Celebration and praise, I am sure, enveloped this woman and all who knew her. God had granted her a son in this couples old age because of the kindness given to his prophet. “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him.” (1 Corinthians 1:9, Isaiah 64:4).
As the child grew, a tragedy occurs, sickness. The child complains about his head and is taken to his mother where he dies in her arms. Calmly, purposefully and quietly she lays her precious son on the man of God’s bed, shuts the door and goes to find Elisha (2 Kings 4:21). “She called her husband and said, ‘Please send me one of the servants and a donkey so I can go the man of God quickly and return.’ Her husband replies, ‘Why go to him today? It’s not the New Moon or the Sabbath?’ This Shunammite woman did not tell her husband, was not stricken with grief or racked with sorrow. She knew who could bring this little boy back and she was on a mission to find him.
“She saddled the donkey and said to her servant, ‘Lead on; don’t slow down for me unless I tell you.’ So she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel. When he saw her in the distance, the man of God said to his servant, ‘Look! There’s the Shunammite! Run to meet her and ask her, ‘Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is your child alright?’”
Her reply will never cease to amaze me. “Everything is all right.” she said. This is the faith we need in the church! This is the faith I seek after no matter the circumstances I am experiencing. Paul shook the church when he announced to the Philippians, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in ANY and EVERY situation, where well fed or hungry, whether in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:12-13). Everything is all right, God is in complete control!
After praying to the Lord, Elisha calls for the Shunammite woman and gives the mother her son. Falling at his feet, humbling herself before this man of God, we should do the same before our King of Kings. “Humble yourself before the Lord, and he will lift you up.” (James 4:10, 1 Peter 5:6). All of those who fell on their knees before Christ were healed. The woman who bled for twelve years clawed her way through the crowd to touch his cloak (Luke 8:43-44). Blind Bartimaeus screamed to be heard over the crowd, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” (John 18:35-42, Mark 10:46:52). The sinful woman who washed Christ’s feet with her tears was forgiven (Luke 7:36-50). I know not all those who are sick will be healed; I know that not all of those seek the Lord for answers will receive what they so desire, but I do know where you can receive comfort, restoration of a broken heart and understanding from loosing a loved one.
Jesus understands your pain. At the death of Lazarus, after seeing and feeling the pain of loss of those he loved, the bible says, “Jesus wept.” God understands your pain through the death of his one and only son, “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5).
I love the Christian faith because we have a God who understands. I love the Christian faith because our Savior understands all we go through. I love this story from 2 Kings because the Shunammite woman had faith to move mountains. She did not panic, she did not counsel ever person on her Facebook account. She did not call all of her relatives to complain or grieve. This Shunammite woman ran to the one she knew could help her son. As Hannah ran to the Temple and prayed to the Living God, we should run to our High Priest seeking Truth, comfort and faith in the One who Saves.
Let us pray and CONFESS the Word to the Living God;
I desire faith to move mountains (Matthew 17:20). I desire to know you and the power of your resurrection. I am thankful I have a High Priest who knows all of my afflictions, temptations and understands (Hebrews 4:15). I am thankful I can come boldly to the throne of grace and lay my petitions at your cross (Hebrews 4:16). Help me to be a woman who practices hospitality (Romans 12:13). Help me to open my arms to the church, to those who need rest and selflessly give to those who instruct me in the Word (Galatians 6:6).
For those I know who are sick, I pray for the healing of _____________________. I believe you will give him/her the comfort of knowing you are in complete control. I pray you will give us wisdom on this illness, what doctors to see and medications to take. If you choose to not heal this person by your hand, then I pray as the Apostle Paul to be content in all situations and to know we can do all things through Christ who strengths us (Philippians 4:12-13).
Father if now is the time for ___________________ to pass on into your presence, I pray for the Comforter, the peace that surpasses understanding and to heal my broken heart. Thank you I can come to you for prayer. Thank you I believe in something greater than myself. I praise you for your goodness and I praise you Lord for having a plan. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth I pray, Amen.