If you’re like me you may remember singing a little song when you were younger that went like this: “Everything’s alright in my Father’s house…there is joy, joy, joy.” Remember that? I loved to sing it but I wasn’t quite sure I believed it. Everything?
Ruthie and I just spent a few days at a pastors’ conference with a wonderful group of young pastoral couples. One of the couples we felt a close attachment to told us they had just lost to miscarriage their first and much-anticipated baby boy. The separation death brings is a wrenching event but when it’s your own flesh and blood, it’s beyond description. To have to say goodbye before you’ve even said hello creates a pain that is inexpressible.
But then the Lord reminded me of a story. I think it must be one of the most amazing narratives anywhere in Scripture. (If you want to be reminded of the story you can read it in II Kings 4…I like the New Living Translation.)
The prophet Elisha was on his way to campmeeting (my paraphrase) when he met a wealthy couple in the city of Shunem. When they invited him to stay for dinner and he accepted, they were so thrilled they decided to build a guest room in their upstairs loft so that anytime he came through town he’d have his own private motel.
Elisha was so pleased he asked what he might do to express his gratitude. Noting that the couple had no children he made a bold promise. Even though they were an aging couple within a year she would hold a son in her arms. She was so stunned she wasn’t even very gracious toward his promise. But right on time, a year later she was nursing a healthy baby boy.
One hot autumn day, about the time he was ready for school (I’m deducing) he followed dad out to the harvest field. Late morning the lad suffered a heat stroke, and though they rushed him back to the house, early afternoon he died in his mother’s arms.
Mom knew where to go for help. She saddled up her horse and headed flat out for Mt. Carmel where Elisha was staying. He saw her in the distance and sent a messenger to ask, “Is everything all right with you, with your husband, and with your child?” Her answer is amazing! She says, “Yes, everything is fine.”
“Fine?” Her precious young son, the child of promise, lies dead back home and “everything is fine”? The boy will be returned to her, but she doesn’t know that yet. Except by faith. And that’s why as she approached Mt. Carmel that afternoon she may have been singing our song, “Everything’s alright in my Father’s house!” Living in a broken world is often pain-filled, but we know, “joy comes in the morning.” Meantime we trust. And pray. And sing, “Everything’s alright in my Father’s house.” Amen.
By Don Jacobsen