2 Kings 4:28 “Did I ask you for a son, my lord?” she said. “Didn’t I tell you, ‘Don’t raise my hopes’?”
Hope can be a strange thing. Not everything we hope for is fulfilled, and that failure can be emotionally devastating. We have the expression in English, “My hopes were dashed” to refer to that. However, there are major hopes and minor ones, and the bigger the hope, the greater the tragedy if it isn’t fulfilled. Those in relation to our children are some of our biggest, strongest hopes. This woman had been unable to have children, and in that society a woman’s status was governed by her children far more than it is today. That said, the emotional connection of a mother with her children hasn’t changed since Eve. Any modern mother, and especially one who has lost a child or who has had difficulty bearing children, can identify fully with this woman. Whereas it is very true that in the case of loss we need to focus on what God has given us, rather than on what we have lost, we also need to remember that God isn’t mean. I’m reminded of a song sung by The Imperials about 50 years ago. I’m not sure of the exact title, but the song starts with, “He didn’t bring us this far to leave us.” In this particular instance God had a resurrection planned, just as He did with Lazarus of Bethany (John 11) God showed Himself faithful, and I’m sure neither the woman nor Elisha nor his servant Gehazi ever forgot it. As a matter of fact, this woman’s story is continued in 1 Kings 8:1-6, where Gehazi recounting the story of the resurrection to the king resulted in further blessing for the woman. It is when we place our hope in God Himself, and not in any of the things He does for us, that we are never disappointed.
I have had various hopes in my life, some being fulfilled and some not. A few years ago I had a strong hope of being able to acquire the land next to this church building and build a senior care home, and that was not fulfilled. It was painful at the time, but I learned and grew in the process. Thinking about it now, I realize the administrative burden of that would probably have been overwhelming for me, and I can be grateful God had other plans. I need to live by the words of the old hymn, “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” Temporal hopes may or may not be fulfilled, but I have an eternal hope that is absolute and certain, and I need to rest, relax, and rejoice in that assurance.
Father, thank You indeed for the hope You have supplied in Christ Jesus. Help me not just enjoy that for myself, but share it with as many as will receive it, for their salvation and Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!