Timing. Much in life revolves around the right timing, and sometimes that timing can become a catalyst for changing the timing of other events in our lives.
I have to smile as I recall going to a discount overstock store to check out cheap carpeting options for a room in our home. The room had twenty-year-old threadbare carpet with several spots of decomposed pad peeking through in certain places. It was definitely time to look into options. After spending an hour trying to find just the right thing, we came out of the store and noticed a note on our car. Someone had hit our car - crushing the entire front passenger door! So, while we were originally planning on waiting a few years to save up money before trading in our car, this event became a catalyst that changed the timing of our plans.
On a lighter note, just a few days prior, my hubby and I decided to give a small end-of-year donation to an organization we support. Those who donated were entered into a raffle to win an all-expense-paid trip to Cape Town, South Africa. We won, and nine days later we found ourselves boarding a plane for a trip that we soon realized God had divine purposes for us being on. (Yep, that car issue had to wait until we got back.)
...and sometimes that timing can become a catalyst for changing the timing of other events in our lives.
Circumstances and timing affects all of us -- whether it is an unexpected phone call, a surprise gift, an open door, a military relocation, a foster care request, a change in employment status, or an illness complicated by insurance issues. Sometimes we groan over the timing of circumstances. Other times, we grin. In our reading this week, we get to experience both. I want to direct your attention to a beautiful connection I noticed as I was reading in 2 Kings 4:8-37 and then 2 Kings 8:1-7. In 2 Kings chapter 4, we are introduced to a wealthy woman who lived in Shunem. If you’ve never had the privilege of going on an immersive study trip to Israel, Shunem seems like just another two syllable name of a random town. So let me give you a little background as to what is going on here.
Shunem was located on the western slope of the Hill of Moreh in the region of Galilee, situated along one of two main trading routes connecting Africa, Asia, and Europe. News of any events happening in this area would have easily spread since it was positioned in a place of influence. It was here in the village of Shunem that the prophet Elisha met a wealthy couple. The wife invited Elisha to eat with them, and so he did each time he passed through. Recognizing him as a prophet of God, they built a small private room on the roof of their home where Elisha could stay whenever he traveled through.
After enjoying their hospitality for a period, Elisha sought what he could do for them in return. Understanding that the husband was old and that they had no son to be an heir, he prophesied that she would hold a son in her arms by the following time next year. Just as Elisha foretold, she gave birth to a son. The child grew into a young boy, but one day while out in the field with his father, he became suddenly ill and died. Distraught, the woman laid him in Elisha’s room, saddled a donkey, and set off on a 20-mile journey to Mount Carmel to tell Elisha, which took about 5 hours. Following the Shunammite woman back to her home, Elisha entered the room where the dead child lay. Then, by the strength of God, Elisha raised the child back to life.
As you can imagine, word of this amazing miracle spread like wildfire up and down the international trade route! The town, neighboring villages, and travelers passing through all would have heard. All would have been amazed to learn someone had been resurrected from the dead! From then on, Shunem would be renown for such a miraculous event. Interestingly, in New Testament times, just over the hill there was a town called Nain where Jesus miraculously raised a widow’s son from the dead. People in the region would have recounted the well-known story of Elisha’s miracle nearby and connected Jesus with the prophets of old. (Jesus did nothing unintentionally!)
But let’s skip ahead to the remainder of this Shunammite’s story found in 2 Kings 8:1-6. Here we read that Elijah warned the woman and her family to leave the land for seven years because God was going to send a famine. She and her family went away and stayed in the land of the Philistines (which was along the eastern Mediterranean Sea). Returning seven years later, she discovered their former property had been taken over by a stranger in their absence and went to King Joram to appeal for her house and land.
I am going to choose to be grateful that I serve a good and gracious God who is writing the narrative details of my story.
And here’s where timing comes in. At the exact moment, the Shunammite woman is there to appeal to the king, the king was making an inquiry into all the great things Elisha had done. And Gehazi (Elisha’s servant) was sharing how Elisha had brought the Shunammite’s son back to life. Talk about perfect timing! Only God could orchestrate that conversation at that moment between those two people while bringing the woman back into the land to see the state of things, journey to see the king, and present herself at that exact moment she came up in the conversation! The king listened to her story and not only restored her property, but also reimbursed any income she may have lost while being gone those seven years.
The next time I am tempted to groan (or perhaps grin) over the timing of events in my life, I am going to remind myself of this beautiful connection in Scripture. I am going to choose to be grateful that I serve a good and gracious God who is writing the narrative details of my story. He is quite capable. And His timing is always intentional.
Jackie Perseghetti wants to live in a world where every human realizes they are walking wounded and in need of God’s grace. Her heart is to be God’s person at God’s time in the life of another and she looks for God-given moments to breathe life and encouragement. When Jackie is not going on adfuntures with her hubby (adventure with fun at the center) or teaching drums or the art of papercrafting, you can find her digging in her garden, storytelling to her grandkids, or sharing the stirrings of her heart at www.smallstepsintofreedom.wordpress.com She takes great comfort in her favorite Bible verses: Isaiah 41:10 and Isaiah 46:4.