The mountain air was fresh from a recent rain and the monarch of the sky was quickly reasserting itself with another round of scorching rays. It was mid-afternoon, with no sign of trouble anywhere, and so the meditator was surprised by the figure hurrying along the pathway below.
The young man in front of her was clearly setting the pace and working hard to make sure she gained her destination. She was a woman of wealth and influence and clearly could have spared herself the trauma of the travel. Still she came.
The mountain man dispatched his assistant and watched the interchange as the familiar woman continued on a straight path toward him. She collapsed at his feet in desperation and his assistant tried to pull her away. He dismissed his assistant and waited for divine insight. Nothing.
Her face had been firm and she had not given any information to his messenger.
The young man who had accompanied her sat quietly off to the side catching his breath, but with his eyes, clearly indicating that there was serious trouble.
Finally, she spoke. “Did I ask for this boy? Didn’t I tell you not to raise my hopes?”
“What are you trying to say? He’s the answer to a prayer.”
“A prayer I didn’t pray.”
“What is your husband doing?”
“He doesn’t know?”
“You’ve ridden 20 miles on these rough roads to see me and you haven’t even told your husband?”
“You’re the one responsible for this boy and I’m not leaving you until this gets made right.”
“Are you sure he’s dead?”
“He died in my arms.”
“I’ll send someone to take care of this.” He tossed the tool of his trade to his assistant and instructed him to run on ahead and take care of what needed to be done.
The woman on her knees was adamant. “As I said, I’m not leaving.”
He watched the retreating figure of his assistant on the path, calculated the time the sun had to kiss the horizon, and made his decision. “We better go quickly.”
The man of God pondered the determined step of the woman who hurried ahead of him. ‘Whose heart doesn’t yearn for hope when it lies empty? Whose heart doesn’t break when the flame of hope is lit and then vanquished? Whose hope can survive the shadows of the night repeating over and over again? Can anyone survive this journey without true faith?’
As the shadows lengthened across the pathway near their destination the man of God thought back to the time his mentor had faced a similar situation. ‘What was God doing by bringing up the same challenge one more time? This boy was the promised one. There wouldn’t be another.’
The sun was half gone behind the hills when the trio of travellers passed through the gate into the large flourishing estate. The brilliant gold and crimson bouncing off the clouds spoke of good days ahead but the reality lying on the bed in the upper room only spoke of ill tidings right now.
The mountain man’s assistant met them half way to the stairway and shared his news. “Nothing. He’s gone.”
The woman from Shunem hardly looked sideways as she reached the stairs and then stood back to let the man responsible for her boy do his duty.
She watched him go and then went in to face the hard truth with her husband.
Upstairs, Elisha fell on his face and prayed to the living God of heaven. He prayed that the Sovereign who had first breathed life into a man at creation would do so again. Carefully he repeated what his mentor had done. Spreading himself on the boy, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, hands to hands. In time, the boy grew warm.
Elisha took a break, paced the floor, and spread himself on the boy again. Seven sneezes preceded the first opening of eyelids.
When the boy was fully revived Elisha called his assistant to get the woman. She fell at his feet again and waited there. “Take your son, again.”
And years later she learned one reason why her son had to die and be raised again. Elisha had told her to escape a seven year famine and she’d lost her estate while away. She walked in to appeal to the king just as the mountain man’s assistant was telling him about the resurrection of the boy.
Flames of hope flickered again as the king smiled on her son.
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