Children of the Bible, Part 16

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Children of the Bible, Part 16 by Allan McGuirl

John 4:46-54

We have an exciting story today in our series, “Children of the Bible.” It covers only 11 verses in John 4:46-54. The first verse starts off with Jesus visiting in Cana of Galilee, not far from Capernaum, where Jesus had made a number of visits. Cana was well known for a number of events, including Jesus’ very first miracle of changing water into wine at a wedding feast. However, today we find something even more amazing happened. Jesus had been travelling from Samaria for two days before He arrived in Cana.

At the same time, there was a royal official living in Capernaum, about 16 miles away, whose son was seriously ill. The Bible says he was close to death. Many of you reading this can already sense the anxiety that this man was experiencing because you have been there. Perhaps you have been in the position of having a child who is extremely ill. You would do everything possible to care for him and nurse him back to health. This father was the same. No doubt he had sought out the best physician and tried all of the traditional methods. Nothing helped; his son was losing ground and there seemed to be little time left.

The official heard that Jesus had arrived in Cana and obviously had learned about many of the miracles and healings that Jesus had performed. Jesus was his only hope. I am sure he made that 6-to-8 hour trip in record time. He wasted no time in finding Jesus and presenting his request: “Please come and heal my dying son.” At that point, he was not even sure if his son was still alive, but Jesus was the only hope he had. He was scared, hopeful, desperate, anxious, and impatient for Jesus to move in the direction of Capernaum. Jesus’ next words are surprising: “Unless you people see signs and wonders you will never believe.” Jesus was not unaffected by this man’s situation. Instead, I believe He was nudging the man to exercise a deeper measure of faith. The man replied, “Sir, come before my child dies.” Here he was not just looking for a demonstration of Jesus’ power – he was looking to the only one who had the power to heal his son.

Jesus’ next reply is even more astounding: “Go, your son will live.” The Bible says that the man took Jesus at His word and departed. He could have begged Jesus to come anyway just to make sure. He could have taken Jesus’ words as a dismissal of his need. Instead, this father’s very act of turning around and heading back to Capernaum was the practical application of his faith. Jesus said it, I believe it, and therefore, I can count on it. That is faith. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is the confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

His trip back was just as hurried as his trip to Cana. I wonder how many times on the way home he rehearsed what Jesus had said. I wonder if his very conversation with Jesus, the Son of God, had affirmed his belief that Jesus could be taken at His word. I wonder, too, if doubt crept in and he worried that if he had just squandered the last few hours of his son’s life on a fruitless mission. He pushed the doubts out of his mind and held onto Jesus’ words, “Your son will live.” The journey was too long for him to make it back to Capernaum before nightfall. He resumed the trek the following morning and was surprised to see several of his servants hurrying down the road to meet him. They brought him the news, “Your son is living.” When he inquired about what time the boy became well, I believe he already knew.  They told him that the fever had left the day before around 1 o’clock, and he knew that was exactly the time Jesus said his son would live.

Friends, this man believed. And in verse 53, it adds that his whole household came to faith in Jesus. This is the greater miracle. The son was restored to physical health and strength, but his whole family also now inherited eternal life through faith in the Son of God. Their faith was in Jesus Christ, the only One who can cleanse us from sin and give us everlasting life. What an amazing conclusion to this account!

By the way, if you need prayer, please call us at 1-877-242-5266. You can talk to Rev. Tim Whitehead at extension 232, or me, Rev. Allan McGuirl, at extension 225. We would love to hear from you.

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Children of the Bible, Part 15

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Children of the Bible, Part 15, by Allan McGuirl

John 6

For the past several weeks we have been looking at children of the Bible – exciting accounts of how God uses children to teach us many lessons. The account in John’s Gospel chapter 6 is no exception. In the previous chapters of this Gospel, Jesus has been travelling throughout the Holy Land, where he was talking to the Samaritan woman at the well. He healed the official’s son and turned water into wine. By the pool of Bethesda, he healed a man who had been lame for 38 years. And then, of course, we have the Jewish leaders ignoring the great miracle and accusing Jesus of breaking the law by healing on the Sabbath.

Now in chapter 6, Jesus had returned the region of Galilee and masses of people were following Him. So, after all of these previous miraculous signs, we see Jesus sitting down on the mountainside. He had crossed over to the far shore of the sea, probably travelling north to the seaside near Capernaum. The crowds had been listening to Jesus all day, bringing the sick to be healed and those who were demon-possessed to be set free. Now it was late in the day. As He surveyed the crowd, the disciples urged Jesus to send the people to their homes to get food because they had been with Him all day. Jesus challenged them to feed the crowd. Philip, with his quick calculation, replied that it would take half a year’s wages to feed that many people. His calculation did not take into consideration the power of the One he was addressing. We are so much like Philip: we see the enormity of the problem, we check out our meagre resources, and realize quickly there is no way we have the answer. We have all been in these situations. Maybe we don’t have money for the rent or mortgage, or for medicine, car repairs, food, or some other unexpected expense. But then there is JESUS. Do we trust Him to meet our every need?

Meanwhile, one of the other disciples, Andrew, had quietly moved through the crowd to check out what resources there really were. All he could find was one little boy’s lunch: 5 small loaves of bread and two fish. He brought the boy to Jesus. The children in this story, along with the women, were not considered significant enough to even count. Yet God was going to use both to perform a miracle. God often used the people we think the least important to accomplish His great purposes. I am sure you can think of someone like that even now.

Do you like to share your food? I think this young boy felt honoured to be able to give up his lunch to this great teacher, healer and prophet. Maybe he was thinking that Jesus was hungry after a long day of teaching and healing. Maybe he thought Jesus would share it with His disciples. I wonder if this is what the miracle looked like from the boy’s perspective: He watched as Jesus took the fish and bread and gave thanks. He watched as Jesus instructed the disciples to have the crowd sit down in groups of 50 and 100. He watched as Jesus broke each little loaf apart and gave a piece to each of the disciples, and then saw Him give a small fish to the remaining two disciples. He watched as the puzzled disciples started to give out a little morsel of food to each person. He watched incredulously as each disciple had more in his hand every time he passed some out. He watched as members of the crowd started to share with those sitting next to them and he was awestruck at how everyone was starting to eat with lots to go around. He received a part of his own lunch, and then more and more without any end. Everyone was eating, the disciples were thrilled, the people were being fed, and the young boy was overwhelmed to see his small lunch feeding this huge crowd. Again he watched as Jesus told His disciples to gather up the pieces that were left over. Each of them filled their basket – 12 baskets full. The boy looked at the leftovers and marveled that there were more left over than he gave to Jesus in the first place. He returned home trying to process what he had just witnessed. He ran to his mother and recounted the whole story. Did his mother ever think that when she lovingly packed a lunch for her son, that God would use that lunch to perform a miracle that would be recorded in God’s precious Word? I’ve often wondered how this event impacted the rest of this boy’s life. Maybe we can ask him about that when we reach Heaven.

You know, this story reminds me of a radio station we had to set up in Tanzania, in Africa. We were given only 30 days to get the station on the air or else lose the license. We needed $30,000, so we met for prayer. While we were praying, a man arrived at our Galcom office at that exact moment. “I have a donation for you that I wanted to drop off,” he said. Guess how much the cheque was. Yes, $30,000. We quickly set to work, and our installer, Dave Casement, was able to get the station on the air within the allotted time.

Yes, God answers prayer. He used a boy’s lunch to touch lives; He used a man’s donation to touch lives. What is it that you have to willingly give to Jesus? He is able to take it, bless it and multiply it to accomplish great things for His Kingdom. Let us be willing givers of what God has loaned to us.

Children of the Bible, Part 14

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Children of the Bible, Part 14 by Allan McGuirl

Matthew 19:13-15
Mark 10:13-16
Luke 18:15-17

We have looked at many different accounts of how children have played an important role in the lives of families and their relationship with Jesus. Did you know that the word “children” appears in the Bible 459 times? Still, many more times they are referred to as “sons” and “daughters” and “offspring,” etc. This alone speaks to their importance in God’s economy.

I was looking at a well-known passage in Mark 10:13-16, where we see mothers bringing their children to Jesus. We also read parallel accounts of this in Matthew 19 and Luke 18. The mothers wanted Jesus to touch their children – in other words, to bless them. These mothers recognized that Jesus was God in the flesh. Just as parents want the best for their children in every way, these mothers wanted the best for the spiritual lives of their children. They wanted them to be impacted by Jesus.

However, the disciples had a much different outlook. They saw children as an interruption to Jesus’ great work. To them the children were a distraction who shouldn’t be allowed to bother Jesus. I can just see them, heading off the scampering children and the mothers carrying their babies and toddlers – rounding them up and shooing them away. Why would Jesus want His great sermons and healings disrupted by children milling around Him, not to mention the noise and confusion they would create? Wow! They had it all wrong.

Jesus didn’t rebuke the children. He rebuked the disciples. Can you see the expressions on the faces of the disciples as Jesus sternly told them not to send them away but to allow the children to come to Him? Better still, can you see the expressions on the faces of the mothers and children when Jesus summoned them to come near and took the children in His arms and blessed them? Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly, I tell you, that unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Jesus wasn’t telling them to revert to their childhood physically. He was pointing out the fact that the child is so trusting. We need child-like faith to trust in Jesus. As the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, as the Truth, the Way and the Life, we can trust Him implicitly, just as a child trusts his guardian. A child trusts his parent, because any decent parent provides for the needs of his child. They nurture, love and encourage him or her. In the same way, we can trust Jesus because He is the one who provides for us, nurtures, loves and encourages us.

The disciples also asked Jesus, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” Jesus took a little child and placed him in the midst of them saying, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name, welcomes me.” Jesus clearly stated that it is the “lowly position” or humbleness of the child that makes him great in God’s kingdom. Humility is not weakness; it is showing proper respect to one another and especially to God. There is no place for arrogance in God’s kingdom. We have nothing to be proud of except to acknowledge that Jesus has paid it all. He is the one who redeems us from our own sinfulness. As Paul says, we only boast in the cross of Christ. As little children, we place our hand in His and follow Him.

This point came home to me so vividly recently. I enjoy taking my grandson, Caleb, out for a walk at times. He takes hold of Grandpa’s hand, trusting me to safely lead him across the road. He hangs on as we navigate our way through city streets. Just the other day we were walking through a parking lot. A lady suddenly backed up just a few feet in front of us without looking. I grabbed Caleb and jumped back quickly. The lady, realizing her mistake, stoped and apologized for not seeing us. Just as I protected Caleb, Jesus is there to protect us along life’s way as we put our trust in Him.

An interesting thing about Jesus blessing the children is that the entire transaction was out of their hands. It was their mothers who brought them; it was Jesus who chose to bless them. They were just the recipients of the blessing of the Son of God. In the same way, it is God who draws us to His Son: it is Jesus the Son who died for us and forgave us. He makes us a child of God as we place our faith in Him. We are truly blessed because of His great love for us. Let us continue to place our hands in His and trust Him to lead us through these coming days and weeks and months. After all, He knows the way.

Children of the Bible, Part 13

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Children of the Bible, Part 13 by Allan McGuirl

Mark 5:18-26

We have been talking about Children of the Bible from the Old Testament and today we move onto the New Testament. As we look at the passage in Mark 5:18-26 we read about a synagogue leader named Jairus who came running up to Jesus and fell at His feet. Jesus was surrounded by a large crowd of people who had come from the surrounding area to hear him speak and to bring friends and family members to be healed. Jairus had made his way through the crowd and, bowing before Him, pleaded earnestly with Him to come and heal his daughter, who was very near death. Jairus was well aware that many of the religious leaders and teachers were opposed to Jesus and His ministry. But in his desperate need he laid aside the fear of his peers and came to Jesus. His only daughter, the one who was so precious to him, was dying. Can you feel what this dad is going through? I have four beautiful daughters, and yes, they have been ill, but never critically. But this man was about to lose his little girl.

Notice what he said to Jesus, “Come please and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.” He didn’t say, “Hopefully, something will happen,” or, “Possibly something will happen.” No, he said, “Come… that she may live.” Had he seen this happen before? We are not told. Had he heard the reports from other people? Again we do not know. Had he heard about Jesus stilling the storm on the Sea of Galilee or walking on its turbulent waters? Had he heard about the turning of water into wine in the town of Cana just a few miles up the road? Had he heard about Jesus’s recent miracle of setting the man filled with demons free? We do not know. What we do know is that he demonstrated total faith in Jesus. His only hope was in the Son of God, the giver of life, who could restore his little girl.

I keep going back to one of the verses that have encouraged the growth of my own faith: Psalm 37:5, “Commit thy way unto the Lord, trust also in Him and He shall bring it to pass.” This man was committing his child over to Jesus to heal and restore. He was fully surrendering his child into Jesus’ hands. As he made this commitment, his friends arrived breathless to give him the news. It was too late. “Don’t trouble Jesus any more, your daughter is dead.” They had certainly given up hope. Have you ever run into doubts? This faith business doesn’t work when there is no hope in God.

Jesus, in the meantime, had just healed a lady who had been suffering for many years and this was the cause of his delay in coming to Jairus’ house. I love what Jesus says in verse 36. Ignoring the bringers of bad news, he turned directly to Jairus and said, “Don’t be afraid, just believe.” You know, fear has held back so many people from allowing Jesus to do something special in their lives. It’s the devil’s tactic to make us think there is no hope. Just listen to this next part. As Jesus, Jairus, the disciples, and other onlookers approached Jairus’ house, there was a lot of commotion and wailing because of the death of the girl. The professional mourners had already arrived. But listen to Jesus. He surprised them all by saying, “The child is not dead but asleep.” They laughed a mocking laugh of disbelief – they knew death when they saw it.

Jesus entered the house with Jairus, Peter, James and John. The mother was there, choking with grief. What a beautiful picture we see next: Jesus came alongside the bed of the child, simply took her by the hand, and said, “Talitha Koum,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, get up.” The Bible says immediately this little 12-year-old girl stood up and walked around. Jesus told them not to tell anyone, just to give the young girl something to eat. Eventually, of course, everyone realized that the little girl was now alive and well. What did they think of their taunting then? Jairus and his wife knew the truth; their faith had been richly rewarded.

So what do we learn from this account? We can learn about our own condition. We all face sickness and eventually the separation of death and the sadness of parting with loved ones. But this Jesus not only heals the physical body, He is the healer of the soul with its sickness of sin. In John 3:16 we read, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” For those who come to Him, there is forgiveness and everlasting life. But for those who do not come to the Great Physician, there is separation. Romans 6:23 says, “For the wages of sin is death;” eternal separation from God. If Jairus had listened to his friends and neighbours, he never would have seen his daughter alive again. Instead, he chose to trust in Jesus – it was his faith in the Son of God that restored his child. It is only your faith that can restore you spiritually: to be forgiven, cleansed, made whole, a child of God, ready for heaven. For those who trust in Him, there will be a great reunion in heaven. What an amazing Saviour!

Children of the Bible, Part 12

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Children of the Bible, Part 12

Daniel 3

In our series on children of the Bible, we come now to three of the children we mentioned last week. In Daniel chapter 1, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were able to demonstrate that even when it comes to diet, God’s way is best. They were probably only in their teens when this took place, but they had learned to stand for what they knew was God’s plan for their lives.

In this next episode, Daniel is not present. He may have been in some other part of the kingdom when this took place, because only Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are mentioned. In chapter 2, Nebuchadnezzar had a dream of a huge statute made of gold, silver, bronze and iron mixed with clay. The Babylonian kingdom was likened to the gold head. In chapter 3, King Nebuchadnezzar decided to erect a great statue of himself made of gold. His plan was that when all of the important people were gathered together around the statue, the musicians would play and all of the people were to bow down to the statue and worship. The consequence of not bowing down at the appropriate time was to be cast into a burning, fiery furnace.

Of course, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego knew that this was forbidden by God. The second commandment states that no images of any gods are to be made or worshipped. The first commandment states that they were to have no other gods at all except the true God. Therefore, these three young Israelites had a serious problem. In chapter 1, there was a way to find an alternative since the purpose of the food was to make these young captives strong and healthy. In this case, the purpose was to promote worship of the King and his statue. There was no possible alternative solution in this case. These young boys were obedient to the king’s commands and to their overseers as long as they could still obey God. Now they knew that their faith in the true God was being tested in the severest way. The penalty for obeying God would be certain death. These young men had made their choice long before the music sounded. They were willing to lay their lives on the line to honour their God.

We all know the story. The people were assembled together around this impressive 90-foot golden statue. With all the pomp and circumstance of the occasion, the orchestra started the music. Immediately, as a unified body, the people bowed in homage to the King and his image. No, wait, there were still three young men not bowing down to the statue; they were standing erect looking over the bowing crowd. The king’s men were quick to report the audacity of these men.

Can you imagine the surprise of King Nebuchadnezzar when he realized these men are three of the four wisest young men brought into his kingdom? He decided to give them another chance, with the additional warning that the furnace will be heated seven times hotter than before. The three men did not waver in their decision. With respect for the king’s authority and with resignation to the consequences, they replied that they could not bow down to the image. They knew their God was able to deliver them if He chose, but even if He did not, they still resigned themselves into His hands. King Nebuchadnezzar was infuriated. He charged his men to bind and cast these three rebels into the over-heated furnace. No one was allowed to defy the King – he was making an example out of these three men in front of the enormous crowd.

But God had the final say. King Nebuchadnezzar peered into the furnace and recognized four distinct figures walking around in the inferno. What? What is this? He questioned his men, “Did we not cast three men into the furnace? How is it that I see four men walking around in there, and the fourth is like the Son of God?” We have no idea how King Nebuchadnezzar distinguished the fourth figure from the others, but somehow it is clear to him that the fourth was definitely different. In amazement, he called Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego out of the fire. They emerged without the smell of fire on their clothes, nor a hair singed. Only the bindings had been burned off their bodies. Nebuchadnezzar blessed the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and praised them for their unwavering faith. He commanded his people to never speak evil against their God and publicly declared that there was no God like Him.

How did these young men develop such a faith in God when they had been carried away captive as teenagers from the land of Israel? How could they take a stand like this in the midst of all these important officials in the most powerful kingdom of the day and willingly place their necks on the line? I cannot imagine this happening unless their parents and their extended family had built at least three things into the lives of these children. First of all, they needed a clear knowledge of God. They needed to know that he was the all-powerful, all-wise, all-present Creator and loving Saviour. Secondly, they needed to understand that God had a personal interest in them and their needs. And thirdly, they needed to recognize that God is always faithful and just. I just cannot believe that without this they could have taken such a stand. These truths needed to be deeply imbedded in their hearts and minds before they could have had the courage to stand against such odds. With God, we are in the majority – no one, no power is ever greater than Him. How we desire our children to have this kind of faith in today’s society!

To read more from Allan, you can order his book, Waves of Hope, for $10. Call us at 905-574-4626 to get your copy today!

 

Children of the Bible, Part 11

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Children of the Bible, Part 11 by Allan McGuirl

Daniel 1

As we move through our series on children of the Bible, we come next to a teenager living in Jerusalem with his family.  He grew up in the Jewish culture until something terrible happened in 606 B.C. – King Nebuchadnezzar invaded Jerusalem.  A terrible battle ensued, many lives were lost, the city was taken, and suddenly Daniel and a number of his friends were captured and carried off to the city of Babylon.

Did you know that Babylon was 60 miles in circumference?  The walls around the city were 300 feet high and 80 feet thick – wide enough for houses to be built on top and a roadway as well.  Wow!  Here were Daniel and his friends, captured and held in a fortified city, in a strange culture, a foreign language, under guard at all times, and miles from their beloved homeland.

What made matters worse was that Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were even given new names.  Daniel became Belteshazzar, Hananiah became Shadrach, Mishael was renamed Meshach, and Azariah became Abednego – all named after Babylonian gods.  What a humungous change in their lives.  How would you have reacted in a similar situation if you were thrust into a totally different lifestyle by no choice of your own?

Daniel’s reaction was, in Daniel 1:8, to “not defile himself with the royal food and wine.”  He was thinking, “This is not good for me. How can I deal with this situation?” Daniel did not kick up his heels, or act self-righteous.  Instead he asked permission to have an exception extended to him and his three friends.  In verse 9 it says, “Now God had caused the official to show favour and sympathy to Daniel.”  How did that come about?

How do you win favour with a superior?  It is obvious that Daniel was co-operative, hardworking, and was willing to live under adverse conditions.  The official in charge could easily have said no, but Daniel’s proposal was reasonable, doable, and acceptable to him.  Daniel proposed a 10-day test where he and his friends would eat vegetables and drink water.  At the end of the 10 days, the official could judge for himself if there was any difference.  This wisely left the decision in the hands of the officer; a test of only 10 days that could easily be undone and would not pose any risk to the man’s position.  He certainly did not want Daniel and his friends to be less healthy than the others or he would bear the consequences.

Now at the end of the 10 days, Daniel and his friends looked healthier and better nourished than any of the other young men.  God graciously honoured the stand these men took under extenuating circumstances.  This reminds me of the second verse of a hymn I used to sing as a young boy:

Many mighty men are lost,
Daring not to stand,
Who for God had been a host
By joining Daniel’s band.
Dare to be a Daniel
Dare to stand alone,
Dare to have a purpose firm
Dare to make it known.

When I think of these men, it reminds me of a missionary to Colombia, Russell Stendal.  In his 20’s he was flying his plane in a dangerous part of the country.  He touched down in one area and was soon surrounded by gun-wielding guerillas.  He, too, against his will, was taken to a remote jungle area unfamiliar to him, away from his family and loved ones.  At least he knew Spanish.  As a young person, he could have thought God had abandoned him and become rebellious and uncooperative, but he knew God was with him. He began to talk to these captors and over his six months of imprisonment; travelling from jungle camp to jungle camp, he wrote a book.  The guerillas were very curious about what he wrote.  After a period of time, his friendship with the guerillas grew and, like Daniel, he won their favour.  God was with Russell and he was eventually released with a very moderate ransom payment.

You know, I have to say that in the day in which we live, in the conditions of the world around us, we could find ourselves in a similar situation.  How would you react?  I think too of Corie ten Boom.  She understood that God was still with her, even in the deplorable conditions of a WWII prison camp.  She demonstrated love and forgiveness because of God’s grace in her life, just as in the life of Russell and Daniel and his friends.

Dear friends, remember that if you are a true believer in Jesus Christ, God is always with you no matter what you may face.  Deuteronomy 31:6 says, “Be strong and of good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them for the Lord thy God goes with you, he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Children of the Bible, Part 10

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Children of the Bible, Part 10, by Allan McGuirl

Just recently we talked about the widow from Zarephath, whose son Elijah raised from the dead in I Kings; interestingly now, in II Kings, we come to Elisha who is involved in a similar miracle. We remember that when Elijah was taken up into heaven, Elisha had asked for a double portion of his spirit. Scripture records twice as many miracles performed by Elisha as are recorded for Elijah, and today’s story is one of these.

Elisha travelled throughout the land, often visiting the cities and towns where there were schools for the prophets. His journeys routinely led him through the town of Shunem. A prominent woman in the town noticed his frequent visits and would regularly invite him to their home to eat. Eventually, she asked her husband to build a small room for him on the upper floor of her home so that he could have his own private quarters whenever he passed through the town. She recognized that Elisha was a true man of God, and she wanted him to have a comfortable place where he could refresh himself and also have time for his own personal relationship with God.

Many times he made use of this lovely room, and on one of these occasions, he sent his servant, Gehazi, to summon the woman to his room. As she stood in the doorway, Elisha expressed his appreciation to her for her thoughtfulness and hospitality. He suggested that he could present her to the King or the army commander for some special favour. The Shunammite woman replied that she had no need of any such thing and that she was content where she was. Elisha then asked Gehazi what they could do for her. Gehazi answered, “She has no son and her husband is old.” Immediately, Elisha called for her again and announced that she would have a son. The woman was amazed and doubtful all at the same time but, sure enough, she did conceive and had a beautiful baby boy.

No doubt the boy was a joy to this mother, who thought she was destined to be childless. She had learned to be content with what she had, and now she had a son. She nurtured him and taught him and cared for him – so grateful for this blessing from God. One day, when the child was a little older, he went out to work with his father among the reapers. All of a sudden he grasped his head in his hands and cried, “Oh, my head, my head!” His father called one of his servants to carry his son back to the house to his mother. His mother held her precious son on her lap and comforted him, doing all she could for him, but at noon, her son died. She can think of only one thing – only the man of God can help. She carried her dead son up to Elisha’s room and laid him gently on the bed. Immediately, she sent for a donkey and a servant so she could go quickly to the man of God. Her husband was surprised and asked why she would go when it is not time for one of Elisha’s regular visits. She only replied, “It will be well.”

The mother urged the servant to accompany her as quickly as possible, and she took off for Mount Carmel to find Elisha. Elisha was surprised to see her coming. In many instances, God would reveal to Elisha ahead of time what was happening, but this time Elisha was in the dark. When he saw her coming, he sent Gehazi out to meet her and see if all was well. And what does the woman answer? “It is well!” She already had the faith to believe that God would make all things well. When she reached Elisha, she fell at his feet and he realized that she was in great distress. The whole conversation is not recorded, but we do know that Elisha learned of the child’s death. This woman had not hoped to have a son, God had given her one anyway, and she had rejoiced. Now he had taken him from her. Elisha sent Gehazi on ahead and instructed him to talk to no one on the way. He was just to lay Elisha’s staff on the boy’s face. The mother refused to leave Elisha until he agreed to come. As Elisha and the woman headed back to Shunem, they met Gehazi on his return. He reported to Elisha that he had followed the instructions but that the child had not awakened.

Elisha reached the house and headed to the upper chamber. He sent Gehazi and the mother out of the house, closed the door and prayed. How many times he had prayed in this upper room! How many times he had poured out his heart to God for the people of Israel! How many times he had agonized over the waywardness and idolatry of God’s chosen people. But this time was different. His very specific prayer was for the restoration of this young boy’s life. He rose from his prayer and stretched himself out on the boy, his mouth upon the boy’s mouth, his eyes upon his eyes, his hands upon his hands. The child’s flesh started to warm. Elisha got up and walked back and forth in the house. He returned to the upper room and once again stretched himself out on the child. The boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes. Elisha calls Gehazi to get his mother. When she came, he turned the boy over to her. The woman fell at his feet expressing her deep gratitude. God had given her a son – twice.

Psalm 37:4 says, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” This verse has been proven over and over again. Learn to delight in who God is – every day, under every circumstance. He will give you the desires of your heart.