For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 1 Corinthians 13:12
In 2009, while in my pantry, I felt the Lord urging me to give a substantial amount of money each month in an offering. I immediately questioned His timing.
Father, Are you sure? You know we are struggling at this time, and I feel I need to save more, rather than give more. Still, I couldn’t shake the need to give.
In the midst of my argument, He asked, “When do you sow? In harvest or planting season?” That’s when I realized He was up to something.
In the past, when He had asked something from me, it usually had more to do with what He was trying to accomplish in me, than the action He was asking of me.
I continued putting away my groceries when suddenly the account of the Shunammite woman leaped to mind. I stored the remaining cans and walked to my desk. Opening my Bible, I turned to the fourth chapter of Second Kings and began devouring the passage with a new interest.
- She fed Elisha when he traveled in her area.
- She had spiritual perception, recognizing Elisha as a man of God.
- Along with her husband, she created a small living space for Elisha.
I understood that she had the money to feed, build a room, and decorate it for Elisha. What I did not gather was her “need” for anything, or so I thought.
Although she was fruitful in many areas, one area of her life remained barren. The Bible does not give a reason for her infertility. We’re told only that Elisha, grateful for her hospitality, desired “to give her” something. When Gehazi, Elisha’s servant, noted her childlessness, Elisha prophesied that she would “embrace a son.” The Word tells us that she conceived and brought forth a son.
It wasn’t so much as “the gift” she gave to Elisha as it was the “act of obedience” needed to position her to “receive” something God deemed necessary in her life. Elisha was the last piece to bring that divine purpose to reality. Could God have given her the son without Elisha? Of course! But that wasn’t the plan.
I recalled my prayers for every area of my life to become fruitful. Trust and Anger issues from the past kept me from being prolific in the present. Could it be God was trying to position me for answers? Would my obedience trigger a reaction in my life?
As I pondered these questions, I saw puzzle pieces on an ornate wooden table. A hand guided the diverse sections to the right place at the right time to complete the image. At that moment, everything clicked into place.
The Shunammite’s actions brought a reaction resulting in Elisha becoming a part of her life. She needed Elisha in her life more than he needed her gifts in his life.
The promised child died, Elisha prayed. The child lived again. When warned of a famine by Elisha, she sojourned in the land of the Philistines (2 Kings 8). Seven years later, she returned home to petition the king for the return of her house and her land.
When she approached the king, Gehazi was with him telling the great things Elisha had done. When Gehazi heard her petition, he told the king, “This is the woman and this is her son whom Elisha restored to life.” The king ordered everything restored unto her “since the day she left the land, even until now.”
Did she realize when she built that little room for Elisha what she would get in return? I think not. What would have happened if she’d withheld her gift? Would she still have had a son? If she’d never met Gehazi, what would’ve happened to her house and lands? Hmm.
I repented of my reluctance. I needed to stop focusing on what I was giving up, and just trust Him. To free-fall in faith wasn’t going to be easy, but it was necessary if I was ever going to move forward. I chose to obey and haven’t looked back since. My obedience taught me trust and eventually, I let go of the anger. I came to realize I needed God in my life more than He needed my gifts.
Is there something God is asking of you? Are you struggling? If so, you are not alone. With every mountain, comes another level of faith. Like the Shunammite, it’s not about the “action” so much as it’s about the chain “reaction” that will take place afterward.
God works in mysterious ways. We only see in part. Yet, He asks us to trust and obey until that day when all is revealed. Take the leap and free-fall in faith!