I must confess that some of the best years of my life were spent in the arms of a woman that wasn’t my wife. Of course I’m talking about my mother, and, yes, the carefree days of childhood innocence have disap-peared into the stresses of adulthood.
This year, Mother’s Day has come and gone, and what have we learned? Some people are mothers, mothers to be, or mothers in train-ing. Some of us are simply the wrong gender, and we will never really know the true heart of a mother.
There’s an Old Testament story in the book of Kings II chapter 4. A woman from a place called Shunem is mentioned as wealthy yet doesn’t warrant a name. She is a powerful leader because of the fact that she is even mentioned at all. She recognizes the presence of God when her husband doesn’t and constructs a dwelling place for Elisha on the roof of her house. She ministered and gave rest to the man of God. She treated him like a mother would treat a son, yet she was barren and had no children. The man of God was so moved by the heart of this woman that he spoke life into her, and nine months later she bore a son.
A simple, yet wise, woman continues to teach us today that the pres-ence of God is worth far more than great wealth. She spent of her earn-ings to provide a place in her home for Elisha. She placed him above herself in the physical as well as the spiritual. She knew that true anointing flows down. She recognized the presence of God on Elisha and made every effort to draw him as close to her as she could.
Years later, her son became ill and died in her arms. Her husband (the typical working father) had sent him from the fields to his mother. Once again, what she taught us we are still learning from today. She placed the body of her lifeless son upon the bed of the man of God, and, in verse 21, she closed the door behind. Maybe like the army of Joshua becoming silent for seven days while marching on Jericho, she knew that if anyone entered, they would infect what God was about to do with their own opinions. Maybe they would have buried the dead son before she could return. Our job is not to die in the wait; we are called to live in the now. Her husband is obviously ignorant as to what has happened as she mounted her donkey in haste. In verse 23, she leaves one bit of instruction for the men who remained, and that was “all is well.” All will always be well when our journey is pointed toward Jesus.
She found the man of God and his servant. She explained the circum-stance, and Elisha sent his servant ahead with his own staff and in-structed him to lay the staff on the face of the child until he arrived. This was done, but there was still no life in the child. Elisha entered the room to find his friend’s son dead, face up upon the bed of Elisha. Here is another opportunity for teaching. This mother laid something dead before the Lord, yet she never spoke death into the situation. On more than one occasion, she spoke that “all is well.” There’s a difference be-tween bringing a dead offering and speaking life into dead things. She chose life through the presence of God.
Elisha laid himself on the dead son, face to face, mouth to mouth, and eye to eye. After this, the Shunammite son was restored, and life re-turned to him. Maybe in the Americanized gospel we’re trying the easy way to healing. We don’t know why Elisha sent his servant ahead with his staff to lay on the young man. We don’t know if his staff was a con-duit for what was to come, or if it failed. One thing we can take away is that this mother acted in faith, and, as a result, her son lived. We know that some experiences will never reach a power level in the Lord as long as we’re sending a stick to do the work that only the anointed touch can do. Elisha spoke life, breathed life into, and expected life in a dead body, and he got what he expected. A mother spoke life, breathed life, and expected life as well, and she received what she expected. Great expectations will always require more than a distant word or good gesture. Maybe it’s time to lay ourselves all over what we expect to live.
Let’s spend some time together this Sunday at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. on the square in Sparta. We are Christpoint Church, and we’re real people, living real lives, and serving a real God. Welcome home.