S: 2 Kings 4:8-37
tells the story of the woman from Shunem who was hospitable to the prophet Elisha. She always hosted Elisha whenever he came to Shunem, so Elisha wanted to appreciate her somehow.
She still had no children, and her husband was already old, so Elisha prophesied that she would have a child by that time the following year.
She said, “No, my lord! O man of God, don’t deceive me and get my hopes up like that.”
But sure enough, the woman soon became pregnant. And at that time the following year she had a son, just as Elisha had said.
But then, some years later, the boy collapsed and died. She quickly went to see Elisha, but everyone who asked her on her way if anything was wrong, she would tell them, “everything is fine.” The Lord Himself chose not to reveal to Elisha what the problem was, but he could tell she was troubled.
However, when she got to Elisha, 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’?”
Elisha immediately told his apprentice, Gehazi, to go lay his staff on the child's face. However, this didn't revive the child, so Elisha went into the room, shut the door, and prayed to God. Then he lay down on the child’s body, placing his mouth on the child’s mouth, his eyes on the child’s eyes, and his hands on the child’s hands. And as he stretched out on him, the child’s body began to grow warm again! Elisha got up, walked back and forth across the room once, and then stretched himself out again on the child. This time the boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes!
Then Elisha summoned Gehazi. “Call the child’s mother!” he said. And when she came in, Elisha said, “Here, take your son!” She fell at his feet and bowed before him, overwhelmed with gratitude. Then she took her son in her arms and carried him downstairs.
O: The Shunemite woman had already give up. She thought she would never have a child. But God had other plans -- she was to be rewarded for her hospitality to the Lord's prophet.
However, God isn't just interested in making our lives happy -- He wants to train us to perfection. Character is ultimately more important in eternity than temporal happiness.
That's why James 1:2-4 says “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything”
Things have been generally going well in the last year. Just recently, however, I faced some challenges. But I can trust God that He will carry me through.
A: When trials come, don't despair! God is still in control. Trust Him to use those trials to grow your character.
Thank you, Lord,
for the trials that come my way.
In that way I can grow each day
as I let you lead,
And thank you, Lord,
for the patience those trials bring.
In that process of growing,
I can learn to care.
But it goes against the way
I am to put my human nature down
and let the Spirit take control of all I do.
'Cause when those trials come,
my human nature shouts the thing to do;
and God's soft prompting
can be easily ignored.
I thank you, Lord,
with each trial I feel inside,
that you're there to help,
lead and guide me away from wrong.
'Cause you promised, Lord,
that with every testing,
that your way of escaping is easier to bear.
I thank you, Lord,
for the victory that growing brings.
In surrender of everything
life is so worth while.
And I thank you, Lord,
that when everything's put in place,
out in front I can see your face,
and it's there you belong.
Note: this is using the SOAP method. For more information, see this page (not written by me.)