As part of my daily devotion, I’ve been reading a little volume by Carol Bechtel called Life after Grace. In it, Bechtel explores various passages of scripture and the message they bring about how we are called to live as people who have received unmeasurable grace from God.
Today, the scripture passage was from 2 Kings 4, the story of the prophet Elisha and the Shunammite woman. This woman had extended gracious hospitality to Elisha on his many travels, even going so far as to add on to her house so that he will have a place to rest. In return, Elisha offers to put in a good word for her with the king or commander of the army. The woman refuses, saying, “I live among my own people.” So Elisha offers her the one thing she has most dreamed of but has never received – “At this season, in due time, you shall embrace a son,” he tells her.
Well, that’s just ridiculous, she seems to say. And insulting. And cruel! “No, my lord, O man of God; do not deceive your servant,” she tells Elisha.
But soon enough, “in due time,” she gives birth to a son.
Bechtel notes that, “sometimes God has more in mind for us than we have in mind for ourselves.” Sometimes, she suggests, we ask God for too little. What would it mean for you, if you were to pray extravagantly? What would it mean for Providence? Dear God, give us new life! Build our community! Erase our debt! Send us out to serve in your name! Is anything really too much to ask of God?