I have lots of biblical heroes, but yesterday I met the Shunammite woman in 2 Kings 4, and I want to be her when I grow up.
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But the story of the Shunammite woman touched me even more than the stories of these great men of God. “Elijah was a man with a nature like ours”—I can relate to him. But I relate even more to the Shunammite woman because she is a woman like I am, and I am thankful that God has given me the example of another godly woman in my life.
Can I share with you what I have learned from the Shunammite woman? (And can we give her a name to make this easier? I hope you don’t mind, but I’m going to refer to this dear woman as Sue from here on out.)
Sue was very hospitable. Her household had the means to provide Elisha food and shelter, so she opened her home to Elisha. She knew he was a man of God, and she desired to do her part. God gives us material provisions not to hoard for ourselves, but to be a blessing to others. We are on earth to build God’s kingdom, not our own, and Sue understood this.
Sue was submissive to her husband. She went to her husband about making a room for Elisha before acting on her decision and inviting Elisha to stay. She showed respect to her husband by acknowledging him as the head of the household—as God desires it to be.
Sue was a content woman. Elisha wanted to repay her for her kindness, but when he asked what he could do for her, she asked for nothing. She was content with what God had already given her. But next we learn that Sue had no son and her husband was old. There would be no heir to carry her husband’s name. I would think this would have brought some kind of shame to the woman, not to mention the longing she must have had to hold her own baby in her arms. But still, she asked for nothing.
Sue was a woman of great faith. Elisha prophesied that she would bear a son the next year, and indeed God gave her a son the next year. But not too many years later, he died in her arms. She did not cry, however, and she did not curse God. She went to visit Elisha, because she had faith in his God. As she left to meet Elisha, she told her husband, “It will be well.” When she arrived where Elisha was, she told his servant, “It is well.” IT IS WELL. Aren’t those powerful words in the midst of such circumstances as hers? But she knew her faith was in the true God. God had provided for her before, and now He was stretching her faith, and she could say, “It is well.”
Can you see why I want to be like Sue when I grow up? I want to see my possessions not as mine, but as God’s. I want to honor God in my marriage. I want to be content in WHATEVER circumstances. I want to have a joyful heart that sings “It is Well” in the hard times. And I want to trust that God can and does do such great miracles as raising the dead to life.
This passage has forced me to stop and evaluate my life. And as I evaluate, I am convicted in certain areas, but I am also filled with great optimism and anticipation, because God has already raised this dead body of mine to life, and He does not leave us as we are. He has made me a new creature. I once made myself lord, but God gave me the faith to repent of my sins and trust in Jesus as my Lord and Savior. And this same mighty God will finish what He started in me like He promised He would. I realized this today as I was walking my dog: If God can burn up a soggy altar on Mount Carmel and heal a leper in a muddy river and, well, create the whole universe in a word, then surely He can make my heart and spirit more like His.
What has God been teaching you lately in your quiet time before Him?