I have found that God will often use a lesson or a specific scripture passage that you read long ago but had forgotten; at just the right moment He will bring it to mind and speak to you through it.
My One Year Bible reading this week has been going through the book of Second Kings. When I got to the passages for yesterday and today, I remembered that I had heard Beth Moore teach on this lesson in September 2012.
Looking back, everything about that conference – song choices included – was perfect for what we are facing now.
And Beth’s teaching was relevant then, but it is even more relevant today as we walk through this struggle with Tori’s health.
I found my journal with the notes from the conference and will share them below along with my current thoughts as it pertains to our journey now.
2 Kings 4:1-37 focuses on two women – one who is poor and has almost nothing, and one who is wealthy and has almost everything.
The first woman has gone through much and is now facing another tragedy. She is honest about what she’s going through.
The second woman says that she’s perfectly fine, even though deep in her heart she has a longing that has not been fulfilled.
The first woman is willing to ask for help and acknowledges her need.
The second woman doesn’t ask so that she will not be disappointed. Essentially, she says “don’t mess with me” because she is so afraid that she will be disappointed.
I want to focus on the second woman today as I can relate to one of her struggles so well (not the wealthy part, haha, though we have everything we need and more. We are content.).
Here is the relevant passage:
One day Elisha went to the town of Shunem. A wealthy woman lived there, and she urged him to come to her home for a meal. After that, whenever he passed that way, he would stop there for something to eat.
She said to her husband, “I am sure this man who stops in from time to time is a holy man of God. Let’s build a small room for him on the roof and furnish it with a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp. Then he will have a place to stay whenever he comes by.”
One day Elisha returned to Shunem, and he went up to this upper room to rest. He said to his servant Gehazi, “Tell the woman from Shunem I want to speak to her.” When she appeared, Elisha said to Gehazi, “Tell her, ‘We appreciate the kind concern you have shown us. What can we do for you? Can we put in a good word for you to the king or to the commander of the army?’” “No,” she replied, “my family takes good care of me.”
Later Elisha asked Gehazi, “What can we do for her?” Gehazi replied, “She doesn’t have a son, and her husband is an old man.” “Call her back again,” Elisha told him.
When the woman returned, Elisha said to her as she stood in the doorway, “Next year at this time you will be holding a son in your arms!”
“No, my lord!” she cried. “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.
One day when her child was older, he went out to help his father, who was working with the harvesters. Suddenly he cried out, “My head hurts! My head hurts!” His father said to one of the servants, “Carry him home to his mother.” So the servant took him home, and his mother held him on her lap.
But around noontime he died. She carried him up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, then shut the door and left him there.
She sent a message to her husband: “Send one of the servants and a donkey so that I can hurry to the man of God and come right back.” “Why go today?” he asked. “It is neither a new moon festival nor a Sabbath.” But she said, “It will be all right.”
So she saddled the donkey and said to the servant, “Hurry! Don’t slow down unless I tell you to.” As she approached the man of God at Mount Carmel, Elisha saw her in the distance. He said to Gehazi, “Look, the woman from Shunem is coming. Run out to meet her and ask her, ‘Is everything all right with you, your husband, and your child?’”
“Yes,” the woman told Gehazi, “everything is fine.”
But when she came to the man of God at the mountain, she fell to the ground before him and caught hold of his feet. Gehazi began to push her away, but the man of God said, “Leave her alone. She is deeply troubled, but the LORD has not told me what it is.”
Then 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’?”
Then Elisha said to Gehazi, “Get ready to travel; take my staff and go! Don’t talk to anyone along the way. Go quickly and lay the staff on the child’s face.”
But the boy’s mother said, “As surely as the LORD lives and you yourself live, I won’t go home unless you go with me.” So Elisha returned with her. Gehazi hurried on ahead and laid the staff on the child’s face, but nothing happened. There was no sign of life.
He returned to meet Elisha and told him, “The child is still dead.” When Elisha arrived, the child was indeed dead, lying there on the prophet’s bed.
He went in alone and shut the door behind him and prayed to the LORD. 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.
(2 Kings 4:8-37 NLT)
My first thought when I read this was “wow – that’s me.”
God changed my heart about being a mother when I least expected it; Brennan and I prayed and tried for two years after that heart change before becoming pregnant.
Those two years brought monthly disappointments as we struggled to conceive. It became difficult to hope. I never took pregnancy tests because I didn’t want to see the negative result.
As I have said before, fear is easy but hope is excrutiating. Hope requires vulnerability and trust. Hope requires faith.
Very few people knew we were trying to conceive; much like the second woman, I kept our struggles inside because I didn’t want to face our failure time and time again. I was “fine” on the outside.
When I took a pregnancy test on December 1, 2013, I couldn’t believe my eyes. God had given us a child!
My heart was so filled with joy during pregnancy (which I loved!) and especially when Tori was born (July 30, 2014). God so richly blessed us with her.
And on February 13, 2015 we found out He might be taking her away.
It has been a tough six months since she became symptomatic, and an even tougher five months since she was diagnosed with Krabbe.
And yet, our faith has only increased through this trial – not because we are certain that God will heal her here on earth, but because He has proven to us over and over again that He is good, He is faithful, He is trustworthy.
Our desperation has brought us to a new place in our relationship with God and with each other. Do we understand why He has allowed this? No. Do we like it? Definitely not. But one thing remains true – He is loving and faithful! We choose to believe His Word and His promises, no matter what.
I don’t know if our story will end up like this woman’s story did, with her son being restored. But, I trust that God has only good things for us even if we can’t understand what is happening now.
Back to Beth’s teachings. Here are some of my notes from the points she made. I’m not sure which quotes were directly from her, so just assume they all were 😉 :
1 – Personal desperation can jar us out of secondhand stories.
Don’t live in someone else’s story – get your own story. We were all meant to have our own miraculous story of how God has rescued and changed us. Our faith should be our own.
2 – God didn’t call us to “fine.” He called us to faith.
Do you want to live a life that is humanly explainable, or do you want to live a life in the supernatural provision of God? Your need is your invitation to supernatural provision! If you have everything you need, you need a bigger life (this does not contradict contentment).
The woman doesn’t ask so that she will not be disappointed. She wants to be safe. She lives a little life because she will not ask. We are not called to a little life – we are called to an abundant life (Acts 4).
– We try to be faithful without the faith.
– We want to be safe; we want to be given something He won’t take away.
– We choose to live a humanly explainable life to be comfortable.
“Without faith it is impossible to please God.” – Hebrews 11:6
3 – Faith trusts that every call to forsake is also a call to take.
We forsake sin and take a life of peace and freedom.
We forsake bitterness and take joy.
We forsake fear and take courage.
We are called to participate, to act, in God’s plan. Don’t let people stand between you and Jesus.
“Don’t waste the harvest of failure. You will never have a better teacher.”
4 – Faith faces the fact that there is no formula.
Formulas are our way of trying to control God. He knows we would go after the formula and results instead of the relationship.
5 – Faith rests its case on the resurrection of the dead.
There is nothing God cannot do.
“Oh, my God, He will not delay, my refuge and strength always. I will not fear, His promise is true. My God will come through always!” – Kristian Stanfill
Do I have enough security in God to trust him with the mystery?
Trust that He is good among the waiting.
“If God doesn’t part your sea, He wants you to walk on it.”
Thank you, Lord, for your living word through which You speak to us in fresh ways just when we need it.