Yesterday morning before I was reading the end of 1 Kings and the opening of the second installment. I hadn’t gotten too far into 2 Kings before Cohen needed to be dressed so that we’d not be late to pick up my friend from fourth grade, Amanda (another story for another day).
So when we got to church and the visiting Pastor asked us to open to 2 Kings 4, I had to smile. My sister, Beth, has this thing about her birthdate. Once she asked God to give her a sign that He was thinking about her and after that she began to see 9.22 everywhere: dressing room doors, clocks, passing buses, characters in books and movies born on that day, etc. Shane even wait to propose at exactly 9:22 🙂
Though I never asked God for this, I have begun to notice that 9 times out of 10 when I get to church or Bible Study the person is teaching out of or referencing the very passage I have most recently read. I’d like to think the Lord leads me just that way because He knows my wandering mind and how I’d be leafing through to get the whole context if it wasn’t fresh in my mind. I’d like to think He gives me a leg up on being able to concentrate on the Word that is shared. I’d like to think He just gets me like that.
So I smiled at Pastor Galbrath as he read about the generous giver; the Shunammite woman.
On April 1 my divorce was final, just 6 days short of one year after it began. I went to court that afternoon not really knowing whether or not things would be finishing, since we’d been once a month since the beginning of the year with seemingly little accomplished.
I didn’t know what I’d feel. I assumed it would be a mixture of sadness and relief that the processed had closed. And I guess I did feel those things amid the myriad of other emotions. When I got home Mom asked if it was “surreal and anti-climactic?” She’d hit the nail on the head.
Surreal and anti-climactic.
After all two and a half years is a long time to be living in limbo…. separation is this strange and horrible crossroad between married and divorced. For a long time I couldn’t wait just to be traveling down one road or the other. I just didn’t want to have to stay put; to be caught; to wait. But then, if you want to survive it, you have to do more than pant like a dog held back on a leash. So, you set up camp. And after awhile, you aren’t in such a hurry to get going. The surroundings have gotten familiar.
So to be down the road, journeying again…. well, its a trip.
I found last week that I had not been sleeping as soundly as before. I found that I was tired when I woke. I found that something was amiss. So I wrestled with it. I got a million suggestions from sweet friends- everything from allergies to sugar problems to seasonal changes.
Then I asked Jesus.
He pointed me to the context; to the timeline. He knows me like that.
Then He asked me to take a reprieve from my journey down the divorce road and veer off the beaten path with Him.
I didn’t have to ask where we would be going. I’d like to think I know Him like that.
The Shunammite woman built a room for the prophet Elisha so this man of God would be comfortable on his travels. This so blessed the heart of the prophet that he asked this woman if there was anything he could do for her. Could he speak to the king for her on any matter? Could he put in a good word for her with the captain of the army? Anything?
She responded that she was content and in need of nothing. “I dwell among my own people,” she humbled responded, indicating she was already well cared for.
…But it was on Elisha’s heart to bless her. So when she’d gone, Elisha asked his servant Gehazi, “what then is to be done for this woman?” Gehazi didn’t have to think for a moment- he knew what the humble woman did not have. She did not have a child. He told this to the prophet, who called the woman and told her that in a years time she’d be holding a son. Her heart was so touched- the desire so strong that she literally begged Elisha to not lie to her; to not get her hopes up.
Contentment has not been easy for me to come by. Wired to be a dreamer and a visionary, I have to work at living in the here and now. I have to work to enjoy what God has put before me in the present so I don’t get caught up in the possibilities of what is next.
The gift of thankfulness in this season has been especially sweet because for most of my life it has been so hard to attain, such a fight. Waking up with contentedness has brought new life to me. I see my little house and Cohen and I living in it and I can hardly imagine needing any other thing. I am well cared for. I am need of nothing more.
I dwell among my own people.
The Pastor yesterday had so many good points to his sermon, he drew things out of the passage that I had never seen before. When he unveiled point number #5 You have an someone advocating for your needs, I was breathless. Warm tears sprung from the corners of my eyes and just hovered there. I was a deer caught in the headlights.
There are just some things in the heart we’d dare not speak out loud. But we have a better advocate than Gehazi…one who can send beyond the obvious into the deepest recesses of our being…
The wilderness feels like a strange place to take someone by the hand. The wilderness? Really?
“Therefore, behold, I will allure her and bring her into the wilderness, and I will speak tenderly and to her heart.
There I will give her her vineyards and make the Valley of Achor [troubling] to be for her a door of hope and expectation. And she shall sing there and respond as in the days of her youth and as at the time when she came up out of the land of Egypt.
And it will be in that day, says the Lord, that you will call Me Ishi [my Husband] and you shall no more call Me Baali [my Baal or master].
For I will take away the names of Baalim [the Baals] out of her mouth, and they shall no more be mentioned or seriusly remembered by their name.
And in that day I will make a covenant for Israel with the living creatures of the open country and with the birds of the heavens and with the creeping things of the ground. And I will break the bow and the sword and [abolish battle equipment and] conflict out of the land and will make you lie down safely.
And I will betroth you to Me forever, yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy. I will even betroth you to Me in stability and in faithfulness, and you shall know (recognize, be acquainted with, appreciate, give heed to, and cherish) the Lord.
“Will you veer off the beaten path with me?” His hand reached toward toward me. “Will you give me forty days to woo you in the wilderness, my anxious little dreamer?”
Looking into the eyes of my Beloved Advocator, I began to hum this chorus…
You’ve brought me to the wilderness, where I will learn to sing
And You let me know my barrenness, so I will learn to lean
Yes, You’ve brought me to the wilderness, where I will learn to sing
And You let me know my barrenness so I will learn to lean
Beautiful Mercy, do what You have to do
Jealous Lover, do what You have to do
You know the best way
Beautiful Mercy, do what You have to do
Jealous Lover, do you what You have to do
I won’t waste my breath asking Him not to get my hopes up because He is not a man that He should ever lie. I know He knows the best way to give me what I desire, since He is the one who puts desire in this heart of mine. I know he gets me.
“And it shall be that before they call I will answer; and while they are yet speaking I will hear.” Isaiah 65:24