Elisha’s Miracles – 3: A God of Faithfulness
The Leprosy Mission produces an internal daily devotional guide, The Bridge, for use in offices, hospitals, clinics and projects around the world. Current and former staff and trustees from many countries contribute to the guide. We will share with you contributions made by our staff team.
Skipping forward a few years from yesterday we see the same family again. We don’t know how many years but the boy is now old enough to go himself to see his father and the others working in the fields; old enough to complain of a bad headache; but still young enough that the first response is to carry him home to his mother and for her to sit with him on her lap.
It was obviously more than just a headache because by noon the boy has died.
And here’s what’s perhaps the strangest part of this whole story. His mother doesn’t cry out in aguish or to ask for help, she doesn’t seem to cry at all or to behave as you might expect a grieving mother to. Instead she puts the boy in Elisha’s bed and goes off to find him, even telling her husband “everything is all right”.
Was she just numb to the situation or did she have faith to at least hope that Elisha could restore her son? I believe it was the latter, even if it was a slender faith it was there. When she meets Gehazi on the road again she says “everything is all right”. She holds everything together until she gets to where Elisha is and falls down and grabs on to his feet in clear anguish and distress. But Gold withholds from Elisha what the problem is, requiring the woman to say it out loud this time,
‘Did I ask you for a son, my lord?’ she said. ‘Didn’t I tell you, “Don’t raise my hopes”?’
She’s not quite blaming God or Elisha for her pain but she’s getting kind of close. “I didn’t ask you for a son, but you gave me one anyway and now look at the pain I’m in because of it”.
She doesn’t have to say any more and Elisha drops everything and sets off for Shunem. He sends Gehazi ahead to check out the situation and when he arrives immediately locks himself in the room with the boy, prays and then lies down on top of him.
This isn’t the first time someone has done this. In 1 Kings 17 Elijah did the exact same thing with a dead child at Zarephath. Elisha would have been familiar with the story as he learnt from Elijah all those years.
The mother comes in falls at Elisha’s feet in gratitude, takes her son and leaves – and we never hear of them again.
This time the woman had to say out loud what the problem was. If we have a problem and something is causing us pain or anguish, we often have to say it out loud, to share it with someone else in order for restoration to begin even if this is hard or painful to do. Once the woman had spoken it, God though Elisha was able to act.
And what did he do – the same thing that had worked before!
As we serve God, we don’t have to continually invent new ways to do things, new ways to draw people to God, often what has worked effectively before will be effective again.
This isn’t always the case but we should learn from those who have gone before, build on their experience.
Take what has worked before and do it in your own way.
Use what has worked before and ask God to bless you as you serve Him.