Choose: Faith as a Lifestyle – God does what we can’t
God desires to birth something within all of us. Something we don’t have the ability to do on our own, but we think we do.
Doing so lands us in a pit of exhaustion, frustration and maxed out – EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.
What if rather than exhausting ourselves in frustration we learned to simplify things by learning to invite Him in?
Join me as we discover how.
Welcome to episode 12 of the She Chooses Podcast! We’re stepping into part 4 of our study of the Shunamite woman where we are taking her life, and looking at it as a pattern showing how to make our faith part of our every day life.
So far in this study we’ve acknowledged that the Shunamite woman is nameless – and that namelessness doesn’t mean God is less favorable towards women. Names matter to us, but the only name that really matters is Jesus. When we look at her as this nameless woman – the message of her life, and the personal application to our own becomes so much clearer. It also proves a truth that we all need to get behind and accept – We don’t have to have a name that everyone knows – have a certain pedigree – social standing to matter to God. You don’t have to be known by everyone to be known by God. Your name doesn’t have to be a household name to make an impact on God’s Kingdom – or to have God’s attention.
In the next session we focused on the progression the Shunamite woman lays out for us. Guys – living for God is not a one and one moment with God – it doesn’t involve checklists. It involves daily walking – and for those of us that are slower at receiving and understanding different things about God — she demonstrates so beautifully for us that our relationship with God is progressive… it’s a process – and daily living, trying, fall down, get back up sorta thing that lasts our entire lifetime.
During our Third episode – we talked about the necessity of creating space in our life, and what furnishings make up that space. When you look to these accommodations that we laid out – you need to remember it’s ok to start small – and take things piece by piece. living for God is a marathon. I’ve never run a marathon – but I have done a 5k… and that was enough – but what I do know about marathon running is you don’t wake up one day and go out and run 26 miles… you train… you start out slow, and you increase gradually through endurance and perseverance. The same is true here.
Today we’re talking about God’s desire to do something in us that we can’t do on our own – and the need for us to trust. Let’s get started!
The Shunamite Woman in week 4 – was given the desire of her heart, and then it seems to be taken away.
We find that in verses 16 – 21,
I love looking at this as a statement of contentment. It’s captivating to me – because contentment is something that many of us struggle with – OR have fought viscous battle to obtain.
If you haven’t reached that place where you have contented yourself on what God has given you – I promise you it is a battle worth every moment spent fighting. So what had this Shunamite woman figured out – that we need to?
That is tough stuff — like rubber meets the road stronghold in your mind tearing down, speak to the mirror talking to yourself saying – I am thankful for what I have been given. I am thankful for who I am… thank you for blessing those who have what I think I want… and help me to focus on what you have made me—- take it to the cross every crazy time you catch yourself thinking about it stuff.
Ladies – we’ve gotta figure this out. And to do so we have to ask God’s help in opening our minds to see we have all we need – and to acknowledge that He provides what we NEED… not what we want. We have all we need in Him…
So the Shunamite contended herself on God’s provision – and where she was in life.
We read in that chunk of scripture that the Shunamite did indeed lack something – and the something was a child – which when we look to the ancient world we need to understand if we don’t already know – that barrenness had a terrible stigma attached to it. We even know she had a lingering pain over it because of her response when she is told she will bear a child — but before that she chooses to withhold the request.
When I read that it makes me think of Luke 12:22, 30-31
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. . . . [For] your Father knows that you need them. Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.”
And it also leads me to (Philippians 4:11–13)- where we find Paul saying…
“I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need. I can do all things through him who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:11–13)
Paul wrote these words to the church of Philippi from a prison cell. A prison cell of all places he was still able to be content.
The Shunamite woman appears to know this same concept. Did she have pain in her life? Clearly – but she learned to be content in God’s plan. I do not believe that was easy for her – and I think we can see that truth through her response as well. Yet still she chose contentment.
True contentment comes from the following principles
When we look at her story from beginning to end – we see every one play out…
- Giving heart, hospitality – caring for the needs of others.
- Make God a priority. She creates space in her home.
- Thankfulness – acceptance of God’s provision. We see that when she responds to Elisha asking, what can I do for you?
- Rejected a fearful spirit – Her son dies… and she takes him to the prophets bed, shuts the door – and doesn’t tell anyone.
- Seek God’s will – we see this more in next weeks study.
- Stand up to fear. – we see this more in next weeks study.
- Trust God – we see this begin to be seen in our study today..
All elements that lead us to contentment.
This week I want us to really focus in on these 7 principles. Cover them in prayer and talk to God asking Him to show you areas where you can do better. We want contentment friends – we need contentment.
Elisha however, isn’t content with her response – he wants to bless her – so Gehazi then shares that the woman does not have a child and her husband is old.
As we said, barrenness in ancient time had a terrible stigma associated with it. So the Shunamite has this ache inside of her – but she isn’t speaking about it. She’s contenting herself on what she said. We know this is a deep pain and her response reveals a desire in her heart. We need to look at her response to Elisha a couple of different ways though.
This is prime example of God sees the desire of our heart.
Psalm 37:44, “Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.”
Her focus on God and keeping him first led her to build a chamber for the Prophet in her home which led to God building up her own home. She thought she was building him a room – but God was building her home.
We also need to look at this checking ourselves, was the Shunamite withholding her need from the one who had the ability to do something about it?
Was this an I’m fine moment that we as women are notorious about? Sometimes we’re guilty of relying on the physical more than the spiritual, we can put our hope in people more than we put our hope in God. We do that when we think – if God desires this for me someone will just know and tell me. Or if God really desires this – than it will just happen. But that is not how it works. Faith is a belief in things unseen – so to exercise our faith we do have to step into a place of vulnerability where we open up our imperfection. We talk to him about our perceived shortcomings. The things we hide from everyone else…. even the pain that is so hard for us to talk about. the dreams we feel like aren’t worth his time so we shove them under the rug not wanting to bother God…
If that was the case, are we doing the same thing? Is there a whole of yearning within us – is there something that we aren’t talking to God about for whatever reason – shame, doubt, feeling unworthy…What are we hiding? Are we hiding depression, loneliness, sickness — just accepting these things assuming this is our lot rather than bringing them to God in prayer.
The Shunamite desired to birth something.
Here we see physical birthing, a physical miracle – but that isn’t the only thing that can be birthed – That isn’t necessarily what God desires to birth through our lives…
Too often we focus on the things our eyes see to declare a miracle or a healing – but there are also mental and emotional healings and miracles that happen as well – and I’m sure many of us have been the recipient of one of those. Someone who has been bound in depression – and freed from it understands that is a work of God – a healing only he can perform. The clarity you experience once you overcome – and the newness of life you feel– the joy that is unleashed feels absolutely supernatural.
1 Peter 2:9, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that he should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”
Shew Forth in that verse when you translate it back to its originally meaning in the Greek means – to send a message. I imagine that like we are all called to be a billboard for God’s grace and mercy to propel his message to a generation that we’re not going to see to do our part so this perpetual message can keep moving forward through generations to come. And we get to be part of it which is really remarkable to think of.
But we can’t do it on our own – just like the Shunamite lacked the ability to conceive. She wanted that child – she ached for that child – but she brought herself to a place where she had contented herself, not even willing to talk about this secret inner desire of her heart. Sometimes we can get to that same place. We all probably have a secret yearning or ache within us that we may brush aside and think – man it’s too late for that one – or No way… I’m not even worthy for God to use my life for that… and we just determine that we aren’t going to bring it to God – we’ll just content our selves where we are… But God sees the desire of our heart – just like God saw the desire of this Shunamite.
The purpose God has for us isn’t one that we can’t live out on our own.
God’s will for us goes beyond us. So that we can send forth that message and leave an impact on those that are around us. The Shunamite was going to give birth to a child that was going to stretch beyond her – This child was going to serve as a testimony to God’s goodness, and serve as a demonstration to his power for everyone that knew her… God has a purpose for us too – one that we can’t achieve without Him, and one that will stretch beyond us serving as a demonstration of who he is to those around us….
God wants to help us with that message our life is proclaiming.
He wants to make it loud and clear. It was obvious to those around the Shunamite that the child born to her and her husband was a miracle. God wants to birth something in us that is just as loud and just as clear letting everyone around you know He’s done something in your life. That can be seen in our work ethic at the office. Through our demonstration of Christ like Love and Kindness. Truly living out loving our neighbor. Hospitality, Parenting… Maybe it’s deliverance from an addiction, saving a marriage, there are so many ways that God desires to amplify that message of our life – and some times we pigeon hole Him into only being able to do that by one method.
The Shunamite’s relationship with Elisha opened her up to something she never dreamed possible. Which is exactly what our relationship with God will do. And what God desires to do will last longer than we will, and it will be bigger then we are. But we’re not responsible for that part – what we are responsible for is the faith building portion.
God says that part is enough for us. And what we find in the Shunamite is that can be more than we can bare.
Tragedy strikes – her desire, her dream has died. Sometimes this same thing happens to our desire and our dream… when this happens we often get hurt or angry, and kinda throw our hands up or sulk… but that’s not what the Shunamite does….Instead…
She lays her child who has died… on the bed of the man of God, and shuts the door upon him, and went out.
Here is where we see faith and trust in this action.
Faith – she’s believing for a resurrection. She’s casting her cares on the Lord and seeking laid her son in that place of rest. She’s not speaking death – she’s speaking hope. She laid her child on the bed, the resting place of the prophet. When she goes to ask for the donkey and ask her husbands permission to go to Elisha — She didn’t tell her husband their child had died – she said, It shall be well.
She did not accept that this was the end to her dream no matter what her eyes saw – she trusted the man of God for the answer…
Sometimes we walk through situations where it seems like what God spoke to us – or the promises he has revealed appear dead or lost to us… she shows us in the midst of what had to have felt impossible to her – the need to speak faith and hope – and seek God.
We see Trust because she is going to her husband asking to go to the man of God. Trust can be a hard thing. But Proverbs 3:5 tells us, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart.” She didn’t get mad at Elisha because it looked like what he had given her had died. She sought Him to seek her help. She understood – God did something miraculous before – he will do it again. Which is something we have to remind ourselves about when we experience times when the promise of God seems to be gone.
So let’s talk about trust for a minute.
Trust is a struggle – sometimes more of a struggle for some than others. We keep venturing back to Genesis in this study – and I love it. I heard a long time ago all our answers are found in Genesis… and it’s so true. Go back to the beginning and start there!
Adam and Eve broke trust with God by eating the forbidden fruit. The serpent dropped a question into Eve’s mind and she allowed it to linger there – and opened a path in her mind to question God’s goodness. Could she really trust God or was He holding something back from her!?!
Adam and Eve broke trust with God when they ate that forbidden fruit.
When they did this their reasoning became unbalanced not stable. Opening themselves up to a bunch of complex stuff when it came to the knowledge of good and evil and being able to process things they weren’t really supposed to have to process.
Which is the same struggle we end up with. But there is hope, and our hope is in Jesus. And it’s the same hope that we see the Shunamite woman demonstrating. Knowing God has everything in His hands, and trusting His process. And ability sounds really simple – and is simple -It’s simple but not easy. Because Simple and Easy are two very different things. Next week we’re going to step into the hard part she endured.
That’s where we’re going to wrap up discussion for today.
Until next week let’s think on contentment – covering those points I laid out. Let’s also consider whether we are bringing everything to God – are there things that we don’t want to waste God’s time with – is there pain we don’t want to reveal to him? Ask God to open your eyes to those things. As He does be sure to acknowledge God is Omniscient – he already knows what you may be hiding — he sees it, and still loves you — he’s waiting for you to profess it, confess it, speak it to Him. Yes God knows all – but he has purposed himself to work through prayer – we have to be sure we are doing our part and speaking to him about it through prayer.
Is there a desire in your heart that you’re hiding? Take this week and pray over it specifically.
Where do you stand when it comes to faith – and trust?
Until next week – thanks friends for hanging out – and taking this journey with me.