On three occasions in the story of the great woman of Shunem we read the words, " it fell on a day". The use of this expression indicates that the events of that day were unexpected, with no prior indication that they would come to pass. Our lives are like that. The events of each day are unknown to us as we rise in the morning, and so we pray that we will be able to face whatever lies ahead of us. Happy days brighten our pathway, sad days may shadow our lives, and both can come with no warning.
The faith of the Shunammite was strong and this equipped her to deal with whatever a day brought forth. In v.8 she was ready for an act that was timely. As Elisha passed her house continually she noted that he was a holy man of God, a man whose character was in keeping with his call and office (note that in 1 Kings 13.11-32 the old prophet had the call but not the character). The opportunity was given to her to extend hospitality. This she did with blessed consequences that she did not foresee. Do we look for such opportunities and grasp them as they cross our path? How much poorer would she have been if she had let the opportunity pass. She was "instant in season, out of season" (2 Tim 4.2).
In v.11 we find her in a day which was testing. Because of her liberal hospitality to the prophet and his servant, Elisha offers her the possibility of a place in the court or with the captain of the host. He was testing her to see where her affections lay. What a dignified and noble reply comes from her lips: "I dwell among mine own people" (v.13). The attractions of the world did not pull her away. Do we not feel this pull as we go about our daily lives? The test of where our affections really lie is one through which we are called to pass, and blessed is the overcomer who can resist the call of this age.
As a result of her spiritual desires the woman is fruitful and bears a child. Child bearing today is not seen in Scripture as the result of godly desires, as it would be for this woman. May we value fruitfulness for God as greater than all the world can put forward. Elisha well knew the character of the woman before he made the offer, but by doing so he gave her the opportunity to show openly the true feelings of her heart.
The third occasion on which we read the expression (v.18) is in respect of an event that was trying. The death of her son surely tried her faith to the limit. Doubtless if she had to be tried she would have wished any trial but this. How would she respond? The answer did not lie with her husband who could not understand why she should wish to see the man of God when it was not a new moon or sabbath. How many spiritual sisters have to face life and its problems with husbands who do not share their faith and understanding of the ways of God? He did not have the spiritual discernment that she possessed. How remarkable then her reply to the questions regarding her family - "It is well" (v.26). The present was dark, but all was in His hands, and therefore all was well.
And so she triumphs and her son is restored to her. May we all live in such a way that, like the great woman of Shunem, we are ready for whatever falls on a day. Our pathway will pass through both days that are dark and days that are bright, but in them all He is moulding us and caring for us, bringing us to a greater knowledge of the One who is leading. May we seek to face each day with the morning prayer that we will live for His glory through every circumstance that falls on that day. The unexpected comes, but whether fair or cloudy may we be able to say, "It is well".