Imagine you desperately want children but are unable to have them. One day your spouse says to you, “We’re pregnant!” The first thing you may demand is, “Don’t joke with me!” Because some times deep desires like that are too deep to the soul for jokes and toying with hope.
It’s not too different than the Shunnamite woman. She and her husband could have no children so instead, they set up a separate room for the man of God whenever he came through town. It was his room to use at will for endless hospitality.
As a way of thanks, he decides to pray for her that she would have a son. She didn’t have one and the pain was intense. Yet, she still found a way, much like Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist, to stay faithful and serve the LORD. Elisha told her what he would ask:
“At this time next year you will have a son in your arms.”
Then she said, “No, my lord. Man of god, do not deceive your servant”” (2 Kings 4:15-16).
In other words, my pain is too deep in this area so please don’t be joking. He wasn’t. The following year she bore a son.
Everything was going well for awhile but then her son died. She was in anguish. Was hope just fulfilled so it could be dashed again? She sent word to Elisha, the prophet who had promised her son. And in a miraculous act, he breathed his life into the son and the boy resurrected.
There are several themes in this story. It is the story of a woman who had faith when again others who should have had faith haven’t. It is the story of a prophet who was despised by the young men who taunted and ganged up on him verses someone who honored the man of God. And it is the story of Elisha who is walking in his prophethood with a double anointing even to the point of praying and seeing the dead raised.
God is contrasting faith in unlikely places and like of faith in places that should have faith. People reaching out in hope to the LORD verses those in crisis reaching out to false gods in their hour of need.