Shunem was the town Milka had lived all her life.
Her husband was a diligent farmer, and they had a good life; she had everything she could wish for, except one thing – she was barren.
The shame, the longing, the ache, it never left her, and in order to soften the pain, she kept busy helping others.
While crossing the square on her way home from the market one day, she noticed a stranger near the communal well. Someone handed him a cup of water, which he drank greedily.
A prophet, she knew from the way he was dressed.
As if her feet had a mind of their own, she walked towards him. Surprised by her own boldness, she said, “Sir, welcome to Shunem! Would you do me the honor of having dinner in my house?”
The prophet stood up. “I gratefully accept your invitation,” he said and turning to the man next to him, “Gehazi, get the bags and follow this lady.”
Milka’s shocking, unusual boldness was the beginning of many blessings.
Her husband gave permission to have a little room built on their roof and each time Elisha passed through Shunem, he’d stay there. Milka was grateful she could help the often weary prophet, and fed him well.
One day, while busy weaving, Gehazi approached her, “My master wants to ask you something.”
Surprised, Milka went to the upper room.
Elisha wanted to know if he could do something in return for her goodness.
“Can I speak to the king on your behalf?” he asked.
“O, no sir. I have a home among my people and have everything I need.” Except for a child, she thought.
Gehazi somehow knew about it, perhaps he’d heard from the servants, and to her astonishment he revealed she wanted a son. When Elisha then told her that next year, she would have a son, Milka had to restrain herself not to laugh in his face.
But the miracle happened; she had given birth to a son, who was the light of her life. Jonathan – Yahweh has given - they called him.
The day he died in her arms due to sun stroke, Milka thought she’d lost him. But again Elisha performed a miracle. Her faith in God had been tested and grown.
Heeding Elisha’s advice about the coming famine, her family traveled to the land of the Philistines, where they stayed seven years.
When news reached them the famine was over, they prepared to return to Shunem.
Then suddenly, her husband died.
Heartbroken and vulnerable, Milka, Jonathan and a few servants began the long trek to Shunem, only to find their home occupied by strangers.
“You must talk to the king, Milka,” her cousin Shifrah told her.
“How can I? I’m only a woman. O why did my husband have to die? Now when I need him most,” Milka wailed.
But after a month Milka realized she couldn’t stay with her relatives much longer. There was no other way but to speak to the king.
Together with Jonathan she walked the long distance to the palace, where a gruff guard wanted to know their business.
Milka was surprised to find Gehazi talking to the king, but didn’t dare to ask him how he was doing. They bowed down low, hearts hammering in their chest.
“My lord and king, this is truly amazing,” Gehazi exclaimed. “This woman and her son are the ones I was just talking about! Elisha restored the boy to life. What timing!”
“Is this true?” the king wanted to know.
“Yes my lord, we are the ones,” Milka replied, still face down.
The king told them to stand, and Milka, not sure her shaky legs would hold her, leaned heavily on Jonathan.
“What can I do for you?” the king asked in a friendly tone.
Milka explained what happened to her possessions.
Immediately the monarch summoned an official and said, “Give back everything that belonged to her, including the income from her land from the day she left the country until now.”
Shifrah joyfully clapped her hands when Milka told her about the miracle,
“I told you! Don’t be shy. Be bold! You see? If you don’t ask, you won’t get. See what happened? You even didn’t have to beg for it and got more than expected. God be praised!”
She tightly hugged her cousin, “Welcome home, Milka!”
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy…” Hebrews 4:16 KJV
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