Romans 8:28-30 (NLT)
And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. For God knew his people in advance, and he chose them to become like his Son, so that his Son would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory.
The comprehensive nature of our God is indescribable in human terms. This makes it very difficult to discern all that the Lord is doing in our life when He is doing it. Many times we try to understand God’s Will with our natural mind rather than allowing the Holy Spirit to do His Work from inside of us. We must have faith and hope to do the Will of God. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and evidence of the unseen. (Hebrews 11:1) Hope is our complete trust that God’s Promises will come to pass. (Hebrews 10:23) There are times in our life when we operate by faith but forget about hope. Then there are other times when we are so focused on the future that we forget to use our faith for today. Are you confused yet?
Isaiah 55:8-9 (NLT)
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
As we move into the final stages of preparation for the bone marrow transplant of our son, I feel as though I am standing on the raw edge of faith and very close to hope. This process forces you to look at the reality of death and the fact that we all will die one day. When you couple this with the fact that we have a close relative at the end stage of life, it is all too real just how short this life is. Life and death in the natural is quite final. Life is embrace while death is a hushed whisper with many other words that hide the ugly truth. Why do we not embrace death? Because human beings were created by God to be eternal beings. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) You were designed to live forever with God in His Kingdom. This is not a new plan but God’s Original Plan all along. This is also why people outside of Jesus Christ can never achieve fulfillment in their life and continue to be discontent even when highly successful in this world. I know that the Lord has clearly stated that our son will live and not die. I have not moved from that position at all. That does not mean that I have a clue how He will do it.
My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts. This takes away any human rationale from bringing us comfort in this time. In fact, statistically things are not in our son’s favor but God is on His Side. God’s Ways are far beyond anything that I can imagine. Therefore the 575 plans that I have developed in my head as to how this will all work out have long since failed, but our son is still alive and doing well. As far as the Heavens are higher than the earth, His Ways are higher than my ways and so are His Thoughts. I have a friend and co-worker who tells us in planning meetings that we need to “take a look from 800 feet up” rather than deciding our ventures on the here and now. In our son’s battle against cancer, one of the key verses that keeps presenting itself is Romans 8:28 “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” When I first read it, I thought it was for the here and now. I believed that it was God’s Word for my son’s life and that He was causing everything to work together for (our son) who loves God and is called according to His Purpose. But what I have discovered is that God is causing everything to work together not only for our son but everyone involved in this process.
2 Kings 4:8-10 (NLT)
One day Elisha went to the town of Shunem. A wealthy woman lived there, and she urged him to come to her home for a meal. After that, whenever he passed that way, he would stop there for something to eat. She said to her husband, “I am sure this man who stops in from time to time is a holy man of God. Let’s build a small room for him on the roof and furnish it with a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp. Then he will have a place to stay whenever he comes by.”
When I get discouraged in the midst of this journey, it seems as though I meet the woman of Shunem again and again. I know the Lord is trying to tell me something about her that will benefit my life so I decided to take you through the same steps I follow each time I meet her along the way. The woman had a curiosity about Man of God. She invited Elisha to come to her home and share a meal with her family which was only her spouse. After doing so, she decided that she wanted to prepare a place for the “Man of God” in her home so he could stay there on his frequent visits to the city. I believe the woman was not curious about the Man of God as much as God’s Spirit was moving on her life. She was a wealthy woman who was well provided for. She had a husband but no children. Yet she still was looking for something more so she developed a friendship with the prophet. She did not realize the longing in her heart for the Lord even as He was drawing her near. The woman was being introduced to faith and she wanted more.
2 Kings 4:11-17 (NLT)
One day Elisha returned to Shunem, and he went up to this upper room to rest. He said to his servant Gehazi, “Tell the woman from Shunem I want to speak to her.” When she appeared, Elisha said to Gehazi, “Tell her, ‘We appreciate the kind concern you have shown us. What can we do for you? Can we put in a good word for you to the king or to the commander of the army?’” “No,” she replied, “my family takes good care of me.” Later Elisha asked Gehazi, “What can we do for her?” Gehazi replied, “She doesn’t have a son, and her husband is an old man.” “Call her back again,” Elisha told him. When the woman returned, Elisha said to her as she stood in the doorway, “Next year at this time you will be holding a son in your arms!”
“No, my lord!” she cried. “O man of God, don’t deceive me and get my hopes up like that.” But sure enough, the woman soon became pregnant. And at that time the following year she had a son, just as Elisha had said.
As the woman’s faithfulness and commitment to the Man of God grew, it pleased the Lord so the prophet wanted to bless her. Remember at this time the Spirit of God had not been poured out to all people only certain ones. “What can we do for her?” She doesn’t have a son. So they called her in and prophesied that at the same time the next year that she would have a son. Let’s stop for a moment. Many years ago, I attended a women’s conference with friends. One friend had no children but had never voiced a concern about it. In the middle of prayer at the end of a service, the Lord pressed into my heart to lay hands on her belly and pray that she would become pregnant. So I did it. I didn’t think to ask her if she wanted one just did it. She broke down in tears. She had wanted a child very badly. Within a year, she had a son. There are times when our faith is not strong enough to reach in our past and pull out our future. God wanted to give the woman at Shunem a child just as He had three children (so far) planned for my friend. The woman had given up on children. Her husband was old. I am quite sure that years of disappointment had buried her belief that she would ever be a mother. Her hope was in the future now. But see God “causes everything to work together” for our good past, present and future because He planned it in advance. He waits for us to get in line with His Plan for fulfillment. But you cannot miss out on God’s Best for your life. For all of you (and me) who were taught that if you wait “too late” you will miss God’s Best and He will parade you up and down looking at what you missed out on. I don’t believe that anymore. Why? He created this plan for my life with a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) He withholds no good thing from the righteous. (Psalm 84:11) He recorded every moment of my life before I was even born. (Psalm 139:16) Hope will never lead to disappointment. (Romans 5:5) By faith, we will lack no good thing that God has promised us. (James 1:3-4) I could go on and on. This Truth has freed me from fear of the past. If I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then I will not be ashamed of my past because He reaches into my past and pulls out my future. He dusts it off and turns it into confident hope as He fulfills every part of His Promise and Purpose for my life beginning to end. The woman had the child she secretly longed for…what is hidden in your heart today?
2 Kings 4:18-28 (NLT)
One day when her child was older, he went out to help his father, who was working with the harvesters. Suddenly he cried out, “My head hurts! My head hurts!” His father said to one of the servants, “Carry him home to his mother.” So the servant took him home, and his mother held him on her lap. But around noontime he died. She carried him up and laid him on the bed of the man of God, then shut the door and left him there. She sent a message to her husband: “Send one of the servants and a donkey so that I can hurry to the man of God and come right back.” “Why go today?” he asked. “It is neither a new moon festival nor a Sabbath.”
But she said, “It will be all right.” So she saddled the donkey and said to the servant, “Hurry! Don’t slow down unless I tell you to.” As she approached the man of God at Mount Carmel, Elisha saw her in the distance. He said to Gehazi, “Look, the woman from Shunem is coming. Run out to meet her and ask her, ‘Is everything all right with you, your husband, and your child?’” “Yes,” the woman told Gehazi, “everything is fine.” But when she came to the man of God at the mountain, she fell to the ground before him and caught hold of his feet. Gehazi began to push her away, but the man of God said, “Leave her alone. She is deeply troubled, but the LORD has not told me what it is.” Then she said, “Did I ask you for a son, my lord? And didn’t I say, ‘Don’t deceive me and get my hopes up’?”
The day that her son died that woman’s worst fear came to pass. Disappointment and devastation all at once drove her to the Lord. But notice when his servant, Gehazi, asked, “Is everything all right…?” She told him, “Yes, everything is fine.” She would not take this matter to anywhere but boldly to the Man of God. She told him face to face, “Didn’t I say, ‘Don’t deceived me and get my hopes up?’” The greatest fear of mankind concerning God. His Word is not true. There is no such thing as hope. She put her faith in God’s Word spoken by the Man of God. It came to pass. But was it too good to be true… I am challenged this very day in this moment with the same feelings. Oh, I believe the Word of God is true concerning our son. It has come to pass four times so far. He has beaten cancer four times in less than three years. I know we are working on endurance right now, but I am tired. It is tough to keep climbing higher and higher to try to see things from God’s Perspective in my frail human form. God has given us His Spirit to speak the Word which builds our faith and keep us strong so confident hope will protect and fortify our heart as we believe. We are only human. This is where grace comes into play in our life. “Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9) This verse was imprinted in my heart and mind the third time our son was diagnosed with cancer. What good have possibly come from the death of this woman’s child? She bypassed everyone else and everything else and went straight to the Man of God. We don’t do things this way anymore. Now we can come boldly to God and that is exactly what He is waiting for. “So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” (Hebrews 4:16)
2 Kings 4:29-30 (NLT)
Then Elisha said to Gehazi, “Get ready to travel; take my staff and go! Don’t talk to anyone along the way. Go quickly and lay the staff on the child’s face.” But the boy’s mother said, “As surely as the LORD lives and you yourself live, I won’t go home unless you go with me.” So Elisha returned with her.
When Elisha tried to send his servant, Gehazi to heal her son the woman refused. She would not return home without the Man of God. What will it take to tie you to God’s Hip? What will it take for hope to become the anchor for your soul? (Hebrews 6:19) Faith and hope became partners in this woman’s life that day. Her son would be brought back to life. They would be saved in the time of famine because now she walked in step with God and His Plan for her life. There is an old song that says, “I never promised you a rose garden...” God wanted us to live in His Presence forever but we chose something else. Now the Lord is working out every detail of our life for good and this takes some time but it also takes a whole lot of faith in His Word and confident hope in His Plan which will require endurance to be saved in the end. If your situation causes desperation for the Lord, it is working in your favor. Go with it. Find the Lord in it and stick with Him until He perfects that which concerns you. (Psalm 138:8)
2 Kings 8:1-6 (NLT)
Elisha had told the woman whose son he had brought back to life, “Take your family and move to some other place, for the LORD has called for a famine on Israel that will last for seven years.” So the woman did as the man of God instructed. She took her family and settled in the land of the Philistines for seven years. After the famine ended she returned from the land of the Philistines, and she went to see the king about getting back her house and land. As she came in, the king was talking with Gehazi, the servant of the man of God. The king had just said, “Tell me some stories about the great things Elisha has done.” And Gehazi was telling the king about the time Elisha had brought a boy back to life. At that very moment, the mother of the boy walked in to make her appeal to the king about her house and land. “Look, my lord the king!” Gehazi exclaimed. “Here is the woman now, and this is her son—the very one Elisha brought back to life!” “Is this true?” the king asked her. And she told him the story. So he directed one of his officials to see that everything she had lost was restored to her, including the value of any crops that had been harvested during her absence.
When the Lord had called for a famine in the land, the prophet instructed the woman and her family to move away from home until it was over. God will definitely take you out of your comfort zone as He increases your faith and establishes hope in our life. Would the woman have left her home so readily if she had not been through all she had? No one knows for sure, but one must wonder. We are less likely to leave our comfort zone to embrace our future without faith in His Word and confident hope in God’s Plan. She did and her family saved. So “outta the frying pan and into His Favor” she went so to speak. There will be times when we have absolutely no idea what God is doing in our life. These are the times when nothing makes sense. You cannot catch a break. Pressure is bearing down from all sides. When you are faithful and believe, it is very confusing to not experience what you believe the faithfulness and favor of God should look like BUT HOLD ON! He is doing exactly what His Word said that He will do and working out His Plan for your future which full of His Goodness and Hope. The woman walked in the king’s court at exactly the right moment to testify of what God had done in her life. She was there to request something of the king but instead was taken off guard by Gehazi so she shared her testimony. What happened next? Everything she lost was restored to her including that which had been harvested in her absence. Imagine the change in perspective that you will have if in every situation you go in believing that with the Lord there is nothing wasted and nothing lost. You haven’t missed a thing. Your life is on track to receive God’s Glory. Faith and hope are essentials and it takes trials sometimes to discover their vast value in our life in securing God’s Best. By faith, God will heal and restore everything you thought you lost in this journey called life. Not only that He will do more than you think or ask by resurrecting dead dreams or righting those past failures – God is definitely not done yet. Your life has a plan from beginning to end, moment by moment, footstep by footstep from the day you were created until the day you step into Eternity! Embrace it, live it, love Him, trust Him, believe in Him, pursue Him and nothing will be wasted or lost!
Psalm 138:8 (NKJV)
The LORD will perfect that which concerns me; Your mercy, LORD, endures forever; do not forsake the works of Your hands.