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The Shunammite Woman
by Kathy Barnes
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The Shunammite Woman
2 Kings 4:8-37

My husband and I lived in Shuhem. We were not rich, but we were happy and well off. My husband was well respected in the city. I noticed one day that a prophet Elisha passed by our house often as he traveled. Therefore, I asked my husband if we might make a room for him to stay, with a bed, a table and chair for him to us. My husband agreed. Elisha was a Godly man and wise. We loved to listen to him teach when he was here.

Grateful for the room and food, he asked me one day, what he could do for me? Did I need him to speak to the leaders, and ask a favor? Did I need him to ask the guards to protect our lands? I told him, “We were fine. I had no needs, I was content.” Wanting to bless us, he talked to Gehazi, his servant, and told him to find out what could be done for us. Gehazi, told him that my husband was old, and I was yet to have a child, all we had would be for nothing without an heir. So, He blessed me and told me I was to have a child. I begged him not to lie to me, and not to tell me so if this child would not become our heir. He said it would be, and it did come to pass in the normal time a son was born.

When my son was still a boy, he went with his father into the field to work harvesting the wheat. The day was calm, without a hint of a breeze, no clouds in the sky, the sun scorched the workers. With so much work to do there was little time for water breaks. Suddenly, my son fell down crying, “My head, My head.” I was busy cooking when the workers brought him to me. He looked so listless and lethargic when he normal was energetic and enthusiastic. I was so afraid that I might lose him. I sat rocking him in my lap and placing cool rags on his head. His breathing became shallower and shallower, until I could feel it no more. His life had slipped away, but I was not ready to give him up. He had given his word that he would not give me false hope of an heir.
I remembered Elisha’s promise from God and I was going to make sure he honored it. With newfound expectation, I was determined to reach him and claim it.

I told the servant to put my baby in Elisha’s bed, and close the door. I told another to get me a donkey for I must run to the man of God. You see he was my only hope. My husband asked why I needed to see him, as it was not Sunday or a Feast day. I told him so that all would be well. I could not let fear cause me to doubt. I drove as fast as I could to him declaring that he would live the whole time.

His servant saw me coming from the distance and ran to met me. He asked what was wrong, but I would not slow down for him. I need to reach the one that could help me. I told him all was well.

When I came to the Man of God, I fell down at his feet. Gehazi tried to pull me away, but Elisha told him to leave me alone I was troubled by something. I reminded him that I had not asked him for anything and when he promised me an heir, that he would not deceive me.

Elisha told his servant to run before us, and take his staff and place it on the boy. He warned him not to stop for anything. Then Elisha and I headed back to the house as quickly as we could. When we arrived, Gehezi said, “The boy has not awaken.” Elisha sent everyone out, and closed the door. You could hear him praying for the boy for a long time, then I heard a most wonderful sound, the boy sneezed seven times. Could it be true that he lived? Busting though the door, I ran in to grab him. I had to see for myself. He was still up next to the man of God as if everything was normal. I hugged him and kissed him until he pushed me away. I hugged and I thank Elisha, for giving him back to me. He had restored to me, God’s promise. God is faithful to keep his promise, and I was blessed, because I honored God’s man.

This is what God did for a woman long ago, and like her I have had to cling to that promise of hope given by God. If he did it for me, He can do it for you too. Just keep trusting.

The Lord gave me Psalm 113:9 (He makes the barren woman abide in the house as a joyful mother of children.) My body went toxic and the doctor told me that I would likely have a stroke or die if I did not abort. I chose to trust him and we both lived. When my child turned into a teenager, and I found her unconscious, lips and fingertips blue. It is hard to watch them sticking a breathing tube down your child throat or wait for days to see if they will ever come off the ventilator. All you can do is cling to the promise of God, and you are so grateful when that promise comes to pass. The doctor told me to put her away. I did not listen. It has been ten years, she is functional if not yet completely whole. And I am still clinging to the promise that she will have life worth living.

Some are asked and a harder task without knowing the reason. They have to see a child die before them. We do not know why He heals some and other’s he doesn’t. Either way, God is still has a purpose in all He does and His timely perfect.

My daughter’s best friend stayed with us off and on the last few years of her life. She was a sweet, joyful, wonderful, and precious child. Her divorced Mom did the best she could to balance time to sit by her daughter bed, and work to pay the bills for the medicine. Her Dad stole her leukemia and pain medicine to sell, and at one point pushed her down stairs breaking her hip. The doctor tried but never found a perfect match and so the two bone marrow transplants did not take. We watched as she wasted away to nothing because she could not keep anything down or in. We held her hands and tried to make her laugh when the doctor’s tests were so painful everyone cried. When the doctors told us, it had spread and the growth was choking off her heart a part us all died. We begged for it to be us, not her for it would be easier to bear. And like her Mother we knelled and cried at a grave that came way too soon and ask why her, why now.

I have gotten out of my hospital bed against doctor’s orders for bed rest to walk across the room, and hold my neighbor. Taking the phone from her while trying to hold back the tears, enough to finish the message to her husband, “One of the twins was dead, and they were about to take her in for emergence surgery in the hopes to save the other.” They had tried for years and this was the second invetro attempt.

I have held a dear friend husband and cried with him, when his wife miscarried and their dreams died. She was supposed to keep her baby, while the doctors had told me that I would lose mine. I wondered if the baby would have been deformed or would she have died. At the same time, I watch helplessly as another woman aborted a child, and asked why.

They are His children first an only loaned out to us. Good people are taken away, and evil are left, and no one understands why. Love ones who are taken away are given peace. (Isaiah 57:1-2) Like us, God looks at their hurting, and says enough. Unlike us, He could trade places with them, so He did. He gives completes the healing and rest from the pain; not ours, but theirs. It does not mean that we are not loving caring parents, only that He is better. We may not understand the why’s until later.

Heaven is filled with children running, laughing, dancing, jumping rope, and playing tag in the streets of gold. They are swimming in the river Jordan, fishing on it banks, and making mud pies on it shore. They are picking flowers from God’s garden, take piggyback rides on the lion, and pet the lambs. In the grassy pastures, they are chasing balls and flying kites. They are playing hid and seek in the clouds. Our earthly angels are playing ring around the roses with heavenly angels. Their praises and songs fill the sky. When they tire of playing, they will run and jump into their Father’s arms, and curl up for hug and story, safe and whole. They are free from hospital bed, needles, and missing limbs. They do not know the disease, destruction, or depravity of this evil world below. When we catch up with them, they will have a million stories and dreams to share with us, and we will have eternity to listen and get to know them again.

Kathy Barnes

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Member Comments
Member Date
Tim Brown 25 Sep 2010
Patsy Hallum 13 Aug 2010
Love the premise. Some mistakes in punctuation and spelling but great vignettes of what it means to lose a child. Keep writing.


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