Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Slow: 2 Kings 4:8-37

I landed in this passage because the word slow makes an appearance in verse 24. But I like to read the context so I went back to verse 8. In reading this passage, there are some beautiful slow moments. Both physically slow and a spiritually s.l.o.w. heart.

Read the passage here.

Verse 8: Extending hospitality, serving and making time for people all require slowing. What a beautiful picture to see this woman want to bless and serve Elisha. She was willing to set aside her agenda to include him for a meal. I can't help but think of the spontaneity likely involved. There was no call, text or email ahead that Elisha was on his way. Did he just stop in? How would I respond to that?

Verses 9-10: She takes it farther and desires a place for Elisha to slow. She obviously wants him to feel like he is home while he is there. Don't you think that was an extra comfort to one who traveled and relied on flexible accommodations wherever he went?

Verses 11-13: She displays a truly humble and serving heart. She is not seeking blessing for herself, she is already at peace in her spirit.

Verses 14-20: Look at the slow beauty of her heart. She dared not even ask for something so big as motherhood. Remember the cultural shame in barren-ness. And we know her husband is old so perhaps it is a dream she had given up? But, God chose to bless this home with a beautiful gift son. I love the picture of the father instructing the ailing child to be delivered to his mama. There is no one like mama when sickness or injury strikes.

And, we already know her beautiful heart so we can imagine what a loving mother she must have been. This little one was laid in her lap and she sat there "until noon." She slowed, she sat and held her baby. Is it safe to imagine she was pleading for God to spare this little soul?

But, he dies in his mama's arms. Can we even imagine the loss this brings? It is a surrender like no other and not a chosen one, but one that she was called to walk through.

Verses 21-28: I marvel at her presence of mind to get up and go, to display faith at a despairing time. And she doesn't let on to her troubles to everyone she talks to. How often do I do just the opposite? She does express her overwhelming sorrow, and pour out her heart to Elisha.

As you continue to read the glorious ending of her son being returned to her, consider the following:

* How does the Shunammite woman display and model a heart of surrender?
* How does she show us less of herself and more faith?
* How does she obey who God would want her to be?
* How does she worship through her actions, hospitality and slowing?

** Photos: Trying Prudent Homemaker's Mint Chocolate Ice Cream and a loaf of fresh bread from a local shop with oil, garlic and parmesan for dipping.