The account of the Shunamite woman, beginning in 2 Kings 4, and then with scattered mentions in subsequent chapters, teaches me the implications of reverencing God’s word. Perhaps her story will inspire you too.
She was called a “great woman” in 2Ki 4:8
“And it fell on a day, that Elisha passed to Shunem, where was a great woman;..”
“And she said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is a holy man of God, which passeth by us continually. Let us make a little chamber, I pray thee, on the wall; ” 2Ki 4:9,10
Her hospitality was the tangible expression of her regard for the words of God spoken by the prophet and the sanctity of his office.
We now have the Holy Spirit dwelling in us to help us hear for ourselves the precious life-giving words of God!
What rewards could we garner if we gave Him room in our hearts and lives?
The Shunamite woman enjoyed some incredible blessings as the light of God's word transformed her life.
• Received an awesome miracle. (The gift of a child)
• Witnessed the resurrection power of God. (When faced with the death of this child due to illness, she sought the prophet and received her son back alive!)
• Was granted the knowledge of impending disaster. (Warned of a famine to come, she and her family were spared the misery of hunger.)
• Enjoyed divine protection. (She moved, living safely in a land of plenty, avoiding the horrors endured by others in her homeland!)
• Lived a blessed life. (Life for her was pleasant, despite the crises that came and were resolved well)
• Granted safety in travel. (She returned safely to her homeland, a journey that must have been fraught with peril.)
• Had her property restored, despite the years of absence.
• Received the added blessing of the restoration of the fruits of her land when she was away!
“So the king appointed unto her a certain officer, saying, Restore all that was hers, and all the fruits of the field since the day that she left the land, even until now.” 2Ki 8:6
In the dull routine of life, it is a challenge to revive the thrill of when I first discovered a specific promise of God for my crisis. Remember how it felt when you were grappling with an issue and a promise from the Bible filled you with peace? The sense of relief that God would take care of it, then joy and wonder at how He would do it….
Those are priceless emotions, worth treasuring. Writing them down in a journal anchors them in time.
Even so, it is quite a feat to keep them fresh days later, when the challenges have only mounted and the promise seems distant! It is like trying to recall in the studio the precise colors of a scene that captivated me while outside in the sunshine. In the studio, I am faced with the familiar colors of my own palette and the wispy remains of a memory. Anything I create will likely be a far cry from the beauty of the scene that inspired me!
Somehow I must recapture the joy of the promise, make that abiding peace mine once more… only then will my faith prevail until the promise becomes the reality.
Therefore, mindful of its power, making a practice of magnifying His word is crucial to steadying my faith.
I am becoming far more deliberate about cherishing each word. Memorizing as much as I can, I repeat them back to myself whenever I sense the promise being challenged.
I never assume I understand it fully, just because I am familiar with the words. There is a dawning of light that is to be shed on every promise that God ever speaks to you. I ask for it, wait in faith, expecting to gain the needed insight.
Creating room for His precious word, allowing it to speak first in every situation takes a guarded, cautious nature. As artists, most of us are prone to impulsiveness in action and retrospection in hindsight. I remind myself instead, to be more deliberate.
Does His word have the supremacy that it deserves? I can’t say I always give it all the honor it deserves, but it sure does help to be aware!
Making room for His word is the key to having the improbable happen. It is tempting to glibly assume that you do indeed revere God’s word. I did, but now I know that I can do more! It’s not much use comparing ourselves with the rest of society, when they struggle with believing that He even exists.
Let us raise the bar as Christian artists, and ask ourselves honestly if we do indeed revere God’s Word as we ought to. Spend time with Him in solitude and listen. God will speak from His book - the Bible. Listen as you read. Let its words be precious to you. They are heavy with the potential to build your future, make meaning of your past and guide your present.
Dream. God can do for you what He did for her, and far more than you can imagine. Stretch in that sacred place of your imagination. If anyone can turn those faint yearnings of the heart into concrete beautiful blessings, it is God.
The room you make for His words will become your filter, the prism through which you view those dreams, until they beautifully change shape and color and then become reality!