There was once a very hospitable Shunammite woman in the Bible. We actually don’t know her name so let’s call her Shuna, for short, just for the fun of it. Shunaaaaaa, baby. Whenever Elisha, the prophet, passed through town, she and her husband always opened their home to him. She provided him a place to eat, sleep, and rest. She was super nice! Due to all her kindness, Elisha wanted to to bless her in some way! What a guy.
So long story short, Elisha found out that she had no children. Her husband was older and they obviously tried to conceive, but nothing ever happened! I can imagine her surprise when Elisha tells her, “at this time next year you will have a son in your arms.” I love her response because basically she’s like, “nahhhhh, don’t you lie to me, boy. I’ve been there, done that, literally, have tried.”
Well, Shuna legitimately experiences the birth of a dormant dream and desire. She has a son the following year. Celebration emojis!
Now, think about your life currently. Isn’t it amazing when we finally get to where we want to be? We are elated when we hold in our hands the very thing we have dreamed for, strived for, prayed for, or worked hard for. But, what happens when you feel like your dream/promise starts to fade?
Once Shuna’s child grew older, he died. He died in her arms, and not like the Cutting Crew song. Could you imagine? A woman, who accepted her lot in life as childless, actually has a child, and then… he DIES! Thank you Elisha.
“I always wanted to start med school. Now I’m 4 years in and I feel like quitting. This is not what I thought was going to happen.”
“I dreamed of being married, but here I am now, in a lifeless marriage. Somehow we got off track.”
“I prayed for this job opportunity to open up. God did it, but now I’m stretched and beyond challenged. This is harder than I thought.”
“I’ve always wanted to have children, but here I am, three kids, and I’m struggling to raise them.”
It’s like going from high-def color to an old black and white TV with no remote. Have you ever felt like a dream died while it was in your arms? You know beyond a shadow of a doubt that when you first received it, it was a gift. You know when you first started out, this is where God wanted you to be. But the luster fades, and reality and emotions start rushing in.
I prayed for the opportunity for God to use me to help other people. I’ve been in ministry now for about 7 years. When most people told me that working at a church was a mistake, irresponsible, and foolish, I held on to the promise, and God gifted me with a job. It was a gift, and it still is. But, I can’t say there has been an absence of pain while living out the dream. People, circumstances, and self doubt will try to chip away at your gift. Guard it and preserve it!
So what’s a mother to do?! Elisha started this… so maybe Elisha can fix this. Shuna packs up and heads to Mount Carmel to find Elisha. She runs into Gehazi, Elisha’s assistant, first, and he asks her if everything is alright. She responds and says, “everything’s all right.” SIDEBAR: How many times do we front and tell others, “everything is alright” when things are falling apart!
She then, in severe anguish, cries out to Elisha and explains everything. After one failed attempt to revive her son, Elisha goes back to her house and, after a series of events, her son is raised from the dead.
If Shuna’s life experience can teach us anything, it’s don’t give up on the dream you have been given. Don’t give in to setbacks, downfalls, circumstances, false perceptions, shadow-box appearances, struggle, pain, or the opinions of others. Don’t allow those things to tarnish a gift or opportunity you have been given. Don’t believe the lie of defeat. Imagine if Shuna just said, “well, that’s it. I had a son and now I don’t.” Imagine if she never traveled to Elisha? Imagine if she didn’t push through her grief? Imagine if she tossed her hope out the window? Imagine if she gave up on the promise God gave her. She.would.have.no.son.
What gift have you been given? What dream are you currently living that is starting to feel lackluster? What promise do you need to hold tightly to? As you fight through discouragement, and as you face things that look dead, remember the life that promise holds.