President’s Perspective: A Gift Given, Then Taken Away

President’s Perspective: A Gift Given, Then Taken Away

In this episode, we will encounter a situation when God offers an unsolicited gift and then He takes it back dramatically, making the situation worse than it was in the first place.

A common-sense law stipulates that when you give a gift to someone you cannot take it back except when a promise related to the gift was not fulfilled. For instance, breaking an engagement requires returning the engagement ring. But generally speaking, a gift is a gift, not a loan that has to be paid back.

What happened? According to 2 Kings 4:8-37, a Shunamite woman and her husband invited Elisha and his servant to have lunch with them every time they passed their house on their pastoral journeys across the country. After a while, the distinguished woman advised her husband to build a room with basic furniture for the physical and emotional comfort of their guests.

On the inauguration day, Elisha asked the lady what could be done in response to their unusual hospitality. “Do you want me to speak on your behalf to the king or the commander of the army?” “No,” replied the woman, “I dwell among my own people.” In other words, “I appreciate your offer, but we have a home, our basic needs are provided for. We don’t need anything.” She had no desire for a special favor or great achievements. Their hospitality was a normal act of love, not something special that had to be rewarded.

But Elisha was not happy with her answer. “About this time next year, you shall embrace a son.” What? Who asked for such an unexpected gift? “No, my lord. Man of God, do not lie to your maidservant,” replied the perplexed woman. It seemed too good to be true, but it happened according to the prophecy.

And you know the rest of the story. Did you ever have a dream, enjoyed it for a while, and then you lost it, becoming more unhappy than before? Did you ever sacrifice for the Lord and His ministry and in response you experienced disillusionment and discouragement? If so, what did you do?

Take time and study the whole story and reflect on your life and your response to God. In similar circumstances, Job stated the memorable words: “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord” Job 1:21.


Titus Naftanaila, President