I need to do better at greeting people by name. Most of the time in passing I say “Good Morning” even though there is something that makes me smile more when people say “Good Morning Nancy”. So my goal is to become more personal even with something as small as a quick greeting that lets others know they are not nameless.
Wedged right in the middle of chapter after chapter of battles and political struggles is the continuing story of a nameless woman. The Shunammite woman first walked into scripture in 2nd Kings 4 because she hosted Elisha in her home. As a blessing for her hospitality, Elisha asked God to give her a son. Some time later the son died and she ran to Elisha for help. Her great faith in God was rewarded with his returning breath.
Now she is back in chapter 8 and still nameless. Elisha knowing God had decreed a famine stopped to tell her to take her family and go away for 7 years. So she packed up the crew for an extended stay in the land of the Philistines.
At the end of those years, the Shunammite returned with her loved ones and went to see the king to ask for her house and land back, very different legal practices back in that day.
Just moments before she stood to plead her case, the king was speaking with Gehazi the servant of Elisha inquiring about the many acts of God’s prophet. Gehazi began with the story of the Shunammite and as he was retelling looked up to see her waiting in line. The king called her forward, spoke with her, then assigned an official to see to the return of her house, land AND the income off the land since the day she left.
The next verse plods right back in to the political drama of the day while I want to just push pause and camp out a bit longer on this nameless woman’s story. Three truths transcend time to give us hope today because of how God dealt with that Shunammite.
- One, in the middle of the chaos, wars, and politics, God saw her and reached out to help her family, just like he sees each of us today in the chaos of our current situations.
- Two, though we never learn her name, God knew it. In the busiest times in life when we get so caught up in all that is going on we barely remember our own name, God knows it. God calls us by name through the beauty of a sunset, the laughter of a child, and from the pages of scripture as he calls us his Beloved.
- Three, God saw her needs and provided above what she could have hoped for at just the right time. Just like God has plans for us that are greater than we can imagine, especially considering the messes we find ourselves in today. So don’t lose hope because his plans are perfect and at the right moment he will bring them about. Remember how God put the king, Gehazi, and the Shunammite together at just the right time for everything to fall into place.
Lord, thank you for the reminder that you are a very personal God. You see me, you know my name, and you are my Jehovah-Jireh, my God provider! In the craziness of life, in the obstacles that block my view, and in loneliness that can set it, You see, You know, and You plan. You are Amazing, treat me better than I deserve, and I praise you for it. Amen!