Lord, give me eyes to see
and ears to hear.
May I look directly to You for
provision all the days of my life.
Focus of the Month: “Ordinary Women with Extraordinary Hope”
Shortcuts. On the surface they seem like a great idea. We are in a hurry to get somewhere, or accomplish something and we want the fastest route possible. If you have ever played the game Candy Land you know how important it is to land on the “rainbow trail” or “gumdrop pass” in order to get a huge head start. But by taking the shortcut, we could very well miss the full experience that leads us to victory!
My early faith walk was full of starts and stops. Uphill battles, challenging valleys and most definitely shortcuts. Yep, that’s right. Hurried moments in scripture trying to get the “main” idea and settling for the minute here and minute there kind of faith. Soak it in fast because ‘I got things to do’ mentality. I figured if I said something that didn’t exactly line up with scripture, some sweet woman I sat next to at bible study would kindly correct me…eventually.
Then it happened. I needed HIM. Right then. I needed to know that God was there and that He was there for me. The details of my desperate moment aren’t as important as the path I took to get there. It was the path straight to Him. No other. No person in front of me could give me what I needed. No person I knew could fix this. Only God. But it was so hard to take the longer way after I had settled for the quick fix for so long. I had to cut out the middle man.
The precious woman I bring to you today is known as the Shunamite woman. She was a wealthy woman and served God well. She encountered Elisha the prophet, whom she called ‘the man of God’. Going above what was expected, she and her husband built a room for Elisha in their home. He would always have a resting place in his travels that took him through Shunem.(Her complete story appears in 2 Kings 4:8-36 – please read it all-No shortcuts).
“As she approached the man of God at Mount Carmel, Elisha saw her in the distance. He said to Gehazi, “Look, the woman from Shunem is coming. Run out to meet her and ask her, ‘Is everything all right with you, your husband, and your child?’” “Yes,” the woman told Gehazi, “everything is fine.” (2 Kings 4:25-26)
If you read the story…you know everything was not fine. Her only son had died. So, why does she tell Gehazi that everything was fine? After all, he was Elisha’s assistant. He was learning from the man of God.
BUT…he wasn’t the man of God! He was the middle man. She would not settle.
“But when she came to the man of God at the mountain, she fell to the ground before him and caught hold of his feet. Gehazi began to push her away, but the man of God said, “Leave her alone. She is deeply troubled, but the Lord has not told me what it is.” Then she said, “Did I ask you for a son, my lord? And didn’t I say, ‘Don’t deceive me and get my hopes up’?” Then Elisha said to Gehazi, “Get ready to travel, take my staff and go! Don’t talk to anyone along the way. Go quickly and lay the staff on the child’s face.” But the boy’s mother said, “As surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, I won’t go home unless you go with me.” So Elisha returned with her.” (2 Kings 4:27-30)
The Shunamite woman refused to leave without Elisha. She knew God had anointed him. She knew God was her answer. It would have to be Elisha, not Gehazi. Her persistence for Elisha to come, came from a place of extraordinary Hope in her God.
Now, during those days, to connect with God, she would have had to go through the prophet. But what about us? Can we connect directly with God today? Do we need a middle man?
We do not. God sent His son, Jesus, to remove all barriers. We have a direct line to our loving Father. What a gift! Do we use it? Do we embrace the power of His presence? The power of His Word? Do we cling to His promises? When we ask God, accordingly to His will He is faithful to provide.
I rejoice in the outcome of my “right now moment”. On my knees I cried out to my God. In belief, I asked and I received. The outcome wasn’t perfect. It looked different than what my flesh had prepared for…but He answered. No more shortcuts for me. I prefer the Shunamite woman’s way. How about you?
Holding Fast to Hope,
Scripture References: 2 Kings 4:8-36