17 September 20192 Kings 4:1-37
“It will be alright.” (v. 23)
Psalm: Psalm 48
This long passage is prefaced by accounts of war and strife as well as references to the company of prophets who seem to be constantly present amongst the people. They are contacted to guide the kings in their decision making. Amongst them is Elisha who helps a widow repay her husband's debts and meets a rich couple with whom he frequently comes to stay and he wants to thank them for their generosity to him. He decides that they need a child and so in due season a son is born to the woman. But some years later the child dies. Just as God breathed life into Adam's nostrils (Genesis 2:7), Elisha breathes life into the boy.
Here are two stories of great generosity, love and unimaginable miracles. Filling jars with olive oil from a little that was left in the house until there were no more vessels available thus enabling the widows debts to be paid off in full, resonates with other Old and New Testament stories of providing plenty in times of real need. Restoring life to the little boy when he was an unrequested gift is perhaps a little more tricky to explain but the mother's belief that, "it will be alright" is such a simple and heartfelt belief that it is incredibly moving. I can't imagine travelling a distance to find a holy man, leaving my dead son to do so as well as all that I would cling to for comfort. But such was her faith and her hope.
At times of real need we do tend to do extraordinary things. The human spirit is unstoppable. Witness the people who were found in the rubble in Nepal after the two devastating earthquakes, the couple who took their son abroad for cancer treatment despite facing huge pressure not to do so. We can and do make great efforts to keep life going and to live with hope, rather than surrender and give up.
- Pray for all those in the news and known to you who have to surmount huge challenges in order just to survive. Give thanks for all that you have and especially the quality of life that you have, for the NHS and agencies who reach out to meet people in their greatest need.
- Consider the quotation," It will be alright" and reflect on when you could have said that and did not, and when you have said it and worried that it might not be 'alright'.