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July 31, 2007

Hope Revived

2 Kings 4:32-37 (NIV)
32 When Elisha reached the house, there was the boy lying dead on his couch. 33 He went in, shut the door on the two of them and prayed to the LORD. 34 Then he got on the bed and lay upon the boy, mouth to mouth, eyes to eyes, hands to hands. As he stretched himself out upon him, the boy's body grew warm. 35 Elisha turned away and walked back and forth in the room and then got on the bed and stretched out upon him once more. The boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes.

36 Elisha summoned Gehazi and said, "Call the Shunammite." And he did. When she came, he said, "Take your son." 37 She came in, fell at his feet and bowed to the ground. Then she took her son and went out.

What happens when your hope dies? Sometimes it's hard to believe in the promise that God gives you because the disappointment of it not coming to pass would be disheartening. So imagine how devastating it is when what God promises does happen, only to be seemingly taken away. That's the story of the Shunammite woman. Because of her hospitality to Elisha, he prophecies that she would have a son after having been childless and her husband is now too old. She even tells Elisha not to tease her like that - it's too painful (my paraphrase - 4:16). Yet she conceives and gives birth just as the prophet said. But some years later the boy becomes ill and dies in his mother's arms.

I have felt that kind of pain. Not the same circumstances, but the same ache when something God gave life to dies in your arms. You scream, "I told You not to even do this, but You went ahead anyway, only now to have it taken away...why? Why?" I don't know why this happens with God but I do know occasionally it does. I don't think they are tests. If they were, they would make God some kind of masochist. I just think it happens.

Elisha's approach to the dead boy is interesting. After praying, he lays on the boy and covers him. After doing this a couple of times the boy comes back to life. To me it's a picture of how God's graces covers my hopes and dreams. Even those that seem to have died can be resurrected when they are covered by God's grace. The promise of God once cold and lifeless warms when covered by his grace. Even when I can't believe because of the pain of my despair, it's possible for the dreams and desires of my heart to breathe again.

Lord, thank you for Your favor that covers my life.

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