God does not disappoint

Dr. Robin H. Kimbrough

As we enter into this Lenten Season, we are reminded of the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It is a time of sacrifice and hope. Many of us are afraid to hope, because we are scared of disappointment. We are afraid that God will not follow through on his promise. This was the struggle of the Shunammite woman in 2 Kings 4:8-17. The Shunammite woman is described as a prominent, well-to-do woman who befriended the Man of God, Elisha. He would travel through, and she would insist on him eating and boarding with her and her husband. She eventually built him a loft to stay over. Elisha wanted to bless the woman. He asked the question, “What can I do for you?” She really did not want anything in return for what she had done for Elisha. But Elisha racked his brain to determine how he could bless her. Gerazi, Elisha’s sidekick, suggests that what Elisha could do for her is to bless her with a son—she had not a son, and her husband was old. Elisha prophesied over the Shunammite woman, “About this time next year you shall embrace a son.”

This prophecy took her to place she had forgotten, a place where she had experienced the most hurt and disappointment. All of us have that place. We don’t want to talk about it or even pray for God to bless it, because it hurts so much. The Shunammite woman replied, “No, my lord. Man of God, do not lie to your maidservant!” Of course, by that time the next year, she did have a son. The woman protested the prophetic words because she did not want to be set up for more disappointment in this area. She had moved on and accepted what she thought was God’s will for her life. The Shunammite’s worse fear was realized. The boy died. He died in her arms, probably a preteen. We can only imagine the hurt she felt and the anger kindled on the inside of her at Elisha who made her the promise. She had asked him not to take her there.

For this reason, she placed the dead boy on Elisha’s bed, and went straight to him, not telling anyone about the death of the son, including the boy’s father. Hadn’t Elisha already blessed her with a son? Yet when the son died, she felt as if Elisha had disappointed her. She would have rather been without the son than bear the pain of losing the son. Many times we have this mentality. We would rather be without the blessing than bear the pain of having it taken away from us.

There is good news for us all—there is the promise of Resurrection. Being blessed with the child, the dream, the job, the opportunity does not mean that it will not lose its life—it does mean that we must have the faith to do what we need to do to bring it back to life. This means bringing the promise and blessing to God’s attention and having the faith to know that he can make it live again.

Just as Elisha laid his body on the dead boy’s body, warmed, prayed over it, and brought it back to life, there is a power that can resurrect our dreams and challenge us to hope in the midst of disappointing circumstances. If we have faith like the Shunammite, we do not have to leave our situations disappointed. We can believe that regardless of how lifeless the situation is, God will not disappoint. God will do exactly what God said he would do. We do not have to leave here disappointed. There is always the hope of Resurrection.