... And it came to pass, when the man of God saw her afar off, that he said to Gehazi his servant, "Behold, yonder is that Shunammite: Run now, I pray thee, to meet her, and say unto her, Is it well with thee? Is it well with thy husband? Is it well with the child?" And she answered, "It is well." 2 Kings 4:25b-26
If I had been in the sandals of the unnamed woman in the passage I have just read to you, I would have had a hard time responding as she did.
Let me explain. Her husband was old and their marriage had never been blessed with children. Even so, she was a great woman and did what she could to support Elisha, the prophet of the Lord. Her life was made complete when, by God's grace, she was given a son.
But then the child died.
Without hesitation she left her son's body and had a servant take her to Elisha. That's where the passage above begins. Elisha saw the woman at a distance and sent his servant to ask her if everything was all right. Her answer is extraordinary. She said, "It is well."
Do you see what I mean? How could she say things were fine? Things were anything but fine. If you read the rest of the story, you will find God uses His prophet to raise up and restore her son, but when she spoke to God's representative, she didn't know that was going to happen. In the face of death, the woman continued to believe her son was well.
Last Friday all of us were rocked by the terrible, the frightening news that came out of Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. When people described what had happened they used words like "horrific," "dreadful," "nightmarish," "tragic," "heartrending" and "painful." They wept, they prayed, they cursed, and many merely sat in stunned and solitary silence.
But nobody and I mean nobody said, "It is well with the children."
And, of course, it wasn't well. On one level it would never again be well with those families that are facing a lifetime of meals at a table, which has an empty chair. Never again would it be well for those who look to a future without graduations and celebrations, weddings, births and baptisms. For them the mourning will continue and time will only blunt -- but never erase -- the tragedy of December 14th.
But, and this is an incredibly important but, there is another level.
For Christians there is another level, a level of hope which is given to us through the suffering and sacrifice of the Savior. Because Jesus fulfilled the Law for us, rejected temptation for us, and died for us, we know death is not the end. The bullets which were fired in Sandy Hook Elementary could only do so much damage. True, they could rob those children of physical life, but they could not touch the eternity of joy and happiness which belongs to all who acknowledge Jesus as their Savior and Lord.
Six times I have ministered to the families of children who died at the same age as those who were murdered at Sandy Hook. All of those grieving mothers and fathers would have done anything, given everything, to have their children back right then. But, to a person, they all said to me, "Pastor, what do people do at a time like this if they don't have Jesus as Savior?"
Those parents understood the other level. They knew that if they couldn't watch over and take care of their children, Jesus would. They found peace in knowing their children believed in the Savior who loved them more than a parent, who had sacrificed Himself to win forgiveness, offer us salvation, and unite families in a never-ending reunion in heaven. On that level they knew, and could say, "All was well" for their children.
Today, parents, schools and country are asking, "What can we do to prepare for such a catastrophe?"
The Scripture has an answer. Make sure your children know Jesus. Then, no matter what good or ill may come, we can know it is well.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, we give thanks for the children whom You have placed into our charge. May we make good use of that time we are given. Along with the many things we try to teach them, may our sharing of the Savior and His sacrifice be first on the list. This we ask in Jesus' Name, their Savior who loves these little ones even more than we. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries