The story is told of The Shunammite woman who was very kind to Elisha. In return for her kindness Elisha asked her what he could do for her. The Shunammite woman said she desired nothing. But the truth is she desires nothing because she was contented with her life and I would imagine given up on her hope of having a child. Elisha knew otherwise and despite her objection he prayed that the Shunammite woman would conceive and surely she did and gave birth to a son.
At the age of 12 the boy died. In bitter distress The Shunammite went to see Elisha and said to him “Did I ask my lord for a son? Did I not say, ‘Do not deceive me?’ In other words she was saying that she had learned to live with her bareness so why would Elisha raise up her hope only for her to lose the child 12 years later.
There are other related scenarios in the Bible – Abraham was asked to sacrifice the promise child and Job lost everything. Why would God give us our desires only to take them back? Could it be because humans are prone to focus more on the gift than the giver?
We can all learn from how these three individuals dealt with their situation:
The Shunammite woman returned to the source of the gift (“Send me one of the servants and one of the donkeys that I may quickly go to the man of God…” 2 Kings 4:22)
Job acknowledged that the gifts are from God and it is His to take away (“And Job said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” Job 1:21)
Abraham acted in obedience and laid the promise son on the altar of sacrifice. (He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. Genesis 22:9)
The gift must never take precedent over the giver. We must be willing to stay connected to the source, understand that our blessings are from God and be willing to sacrifice the gift back to God if it is required of us.
You must learn to hold everything loosely…everything. Even your dear family. Why? Because the Father may wish to take one of them back to Himself, and when he does, it will hurt you if He must pry your fingers loose.” Corrie ten Boom