The Best of Intentions

Jim Mead

READ : 2 Kings 4:8-37

“Since you have taken all this trouble for us, what may be done for you?” (v. 13)

The great preacher Peter Marshall, also known for his wonderful prayers, offered this request: “Lord, when we are wrong, make us willing to change, and when we are right, make us easy to live with.” Biblical prophets were real people. Although called by God for special tasks, Elisha was not perfect, all-knowing, or all-powerful.

In the story of the Shunammite woman, his prophetic ministry was not a smooth one. He had the best intentions for her family but found himself adapting to unexpected circumstances. Trying to correct what he perceived as a lack, he spoke from the heart and prophesied her son’s birth. Then, when the boy died of a sudden illness, Elisha’s good intentions seemed to bring only greater pain. He wanted to bless this woman, though, and through persistence he eventually became a channel of life-giving power.

Many people in our lives reach out to us. They bless us with their hospitality, support, and love. We want to return that blessing, perhaps supplying a perceived need of theirs or comforting them in a time of loss. With Elisha, we can rest in the knowledge that the Lord’s grace is at work, even when our best intentions misfire.


Lord, grant us your grace when we step out in faith to minister to others.