The Shunammite: Recognizing the power of God and acting accordingly

When the child had grown, he went out one day to his father among the reapers. And he said to his father, “Oh, my head, my head!” The father said to his servant, “Carry him to his mother.” And when he had lifted him and brought him to his mother, the child sat on her lap till noon, and then he died. And she went up and laid him on the bed of the man of God and shut the door behind him and went out. Then she called to her husband and said, “Send me one of the servants and one of the donkeys, that I may quickly go to the man of God and come back again.” And he said, “Why will you go to him today? It is neither new moon nor Sabbath.” She said, “All is well.” Then she saddled the donkey, and she said to her servant, “Urge the animal on; do not slacken the pace for me unless I tell you.” So she set out and came to the man of God at Mount Carmel.

2 Kings 4:18-24 (ESV)

This is part three of the series. For those who want to catch up, Part I & Part II.

Previously, the shunammite had borne a son as foretold by the word of Elisha, prophet of God.

Years have pasted since Elisha spoke those prophetic words. The baby, held so tenderly, has now grown into a child. Given that the child can now speak, we can safely assume it has been at least three years. What may have happened in that span of time is left unspoken. It is currently harvest time, since the reapers were out. Harvest is usually a time of joy, of celebration. But something else is in store. The child speaks, “… my head, my head!” The husband instructs one of the servants to carry him to his mother.

A servant carries your young son to you. Something is wrong. A tumor? an infection? What kind of turmoil lies in the mother’s heart? worry? panic? frantic thoughts? faith & peace? Only God knows. We only get a glimpse of external circumstances. The mother cradles the child in her lap. He’s in distress. She was wealthy, but all those riches cannot purchase a life or good health. There is no call for a physician. Perhaps she recognized he was beyond the hope of what medical care they had in those times. So she probably tried to ease his suffering. She watches the life drain from her son. He dies in her arms.

Her only son is dead. What now? Grief? Denial? What words can describe this place where she is now? Perhaps words ring hollow because they are insufficient. But if there were tears, they were not noted. If there was a cry despair or gnashing of teeth, it was not public. It is noon. She only knows one thing. The man of God promised her the son she should not or could not have. He was the one who spoke the prophetic words and rearranged her entire life with a phrase. She would take up her case with him. She takes her boy and lays him down on the bed of the man of God. She tells her husband, she’s going to see the man of God. Why he asks? She does not answer. Her reply is quick, “All is well.” Is it a lie? Is it faith? Is she holding it all in and the very act of talking might make her break down?

She takes off at full speed to the man of God. Don’t slow down, she tells her servant. She flies to the one who gave her what she thought improbable and impossible. Where do you run when times are crazy?

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