Scripture Focus: 2 Kings 8.2
2 The woman proceeded to do as the man of God said. She and her family went away and stayed in the land of the Philistines seven years.
Reflection: Ordinary Measure of Faithfulness
By Erin Newton
Almost 100 years ago, Amy Carmichael dreamed of moving to Japan to be a missionary. However, God led her somewhere unplanned, India, to do unexpected work, running an orphanage. Much of her days were spent tending to the children and discipling other women. At a time when the most epic events of modern history were occurring, she was in India quietly doing the unassuming work of God.
The Shunammite woman is a tale of the slow, quiet, and ordinary walk of faithfulness. She started with hospitality. She offered a meal to Elisha and quickly became a reliable and trustworthy resource for the prophet. When tragedy fell upon her house, she immediately sought God’s prophet. Her character was shockingly different from the leaders of Israel and Judah.
When Elisha told her that a famine was coming to the land, she believed and followed his advice, leaving her home and country for seven years. Because of her faith, she was saved from the ravages of the famine which devastated the people, leaving them in unthinkable desperation. She listened, believed, and obeyed what Elisha told her. Upon her return, she was a shining example of the blessing of humble faithfulness.
We never learn her name. Her story is not painted in cathedrals or put into comic books. She is not sought out by the prophet because of her charisma or popularity. She is esteemed for her hospitality and faith. The miracle of her son’s resurrection is set against her unwavering confidence in the power of God through the prophet. We know nothing of her seven years away. But her reward at the end of those years is worth more than many of the inhabitants who refused to believe and whose stories have become warnings.
Let us not be deceived into thinking excitement is proportional to godliness. Sensationalism is not the measure of faithfulness. Walking with God is doing ordinary things day in and day out. In Amy’s time in India, she struggled with some of the volunteers arguing with each other. She felt the Lord call her to write a series of reflections about the ordinary measure of faithfulness.
If by doing some work which the undiscerning consider ‘not spiritual work’ I can best help others, and I inwardly rebel, thinking it is the spiritual for which I crave, when in truth it is the interesting and exciting, then I know nothing of Calvary love. — Amy Carmichael
Divine Hours Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Protect my life and deliver me; let me know be put to shame, for I have trusted in you. — Psalm 25.19
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.
Read more about God is Faithful, not Indebted
God proves more faithful than Job’s friends, and as he came to Job, he also comes to us.
Read more about Christ, Our Undeserved Friend
Unfailing faith to stand in grace
And steps to finish out this race.
Christ, he our undeserved friend,
Is with me yet, until the end.