|By a miracle,
the Shunammite woman, had conceived and given birth to a son, an heir to
her husband's property and the security of her future. The ache of an empty
heart was gone and replaced with joy in the little boy who was growing
up so quickly. (II Kings 4:8-17) Elisha and Gehazi continued to use the
room she kept ready for them when they traveled through her region.
The day came when her son was weaned and his father began to train him to take over the management of the family estate. From his youth, he would observe his father and do the jobs his father entrusted to him according to his ability. The mother watched with pride and affection as the young boy walked toward the fields. She thought of him often as she went about her daily routine. (II Kings 4:18)
In the middle of a hot morning, she saw a servant hurrying toward the house with her little boy lying limp in his arms. She met them and sat cradling him as his life slipped away about noon. Refusing to give in to her grief, she carried the lifeless child up to Elisha's room and shut the door to keep him from being discovered. (II Kings 4:19-21)
She sent word to her husband, “Please send me one of the servants and a donkey so I can go to the man of God quickly and return.” (II Kings 4:22)
Puzzled, he wanted to know why since it wasn't a New Moon or a Sabbath which was her custom to celebrate. She said, “Shalom” meaning things are under control; don't worry about it; it's all right. (II Kings 4:23)
When Gehazi asked her on behalf of Elisha, “Are you all right? Is your husband all right? Is your child all right,” she responded, “Shalom.” But she continued urging her donkey to hurry to Elisha. She fell at his feet, “Did I ask you for a son, my lord?” II Kings 4:24-28)
Her distress was visible to Elisha. He could hear the anguish in her voice which she had tried to hide from all but him. He sent Gehazi, who was younger and faster, ahead with his staff to lay on the boy. He was instructed to not allow anyone to delay him. But when Elisha arrived later, the boy was still not breathing. (II Kings 4:29-31)
Elisha left Gehazi and the mother outside the room while he prayed to God to restore the boy to life. The child's body slowly warmed, he sneezed, and began breathing. The mother was called in and, seeing her son was alive, she fell in gratitude at Elisha's feet and picked up her son and carried him down into the house. (II Kings 4:32-37)
God had given her the son she desired but had given up hope of conceiving. Then her precious child, the joy of her present and the hope of her future, died. She refused to think of her son as dead: “Everything is all right”--shalom, peace, she kept repeating. The holy one of God will bring shalom, peace; he will make it all right.
Israel had waited for her Messiah, the son of David who was also the Son of God. This son was born of a miracle; he grew and began his Father's work. Then he died and the hopes of those who believed in him died with him. But God, the Holy One, raised him back to life. Through him, all (Israelite and non-Israelite alike) can trust in him with hope both now and in the future. Those who put their hope in him bow to him in worship and obedience. He is Jesus, the heir through whom we inherit the kingdom of God.
Through the life of the Shunammite woman who was called great by God, we can see a microcosm of the plan of God through the birth, growth, death, and resurrection of her son. But her story is not yet complete. (II Kings 8:1-6) (Please join us in the next issue of Women in Christ for Part 3 of her story.)
For the Scripture References and related
Bible Study Guide, go to Bible
Study Guide: Everything is all Right