When You Need Desperate Trust: The Siege of Samaria
Can we admit that God’s timing does not seem perfect to us? Very often, God seems late. We have been going through agony, and He has not been there to help us. At least it feels that way. Desperate times call for desperate trust.
The mom had awakened her children before sunrise, dressed them in the only clothes they had, and set out on foot in the dark, following the moonlit road down the mountain. There had been no morning meal. There hadn’t been one in weeks. Desperate for help for the child who was listless, the mom and her four children walked five long hours–one step becoming fifty steps, and all those steps becoming kilometers too many to count. Surely the doctors can help. Keep walking. I know you’re tired. I know you’re hungry. Keep walking. We need help.
Bondye bon tout tan. Creole for “God is good all the time.” But is His timing good?
The boy grew too weak to walk, so the mom carried him in her arms, cradling him close to her chest, as she had when he was first born.
The mom and her brood arrived at the medical clinic in Haiti long after the sun had risen. Now it beat down hard on the uneasy crowd, each person a story, a history. How would she ever get help for her son in time to make the journey home before dark?
She soon learned she had arrived too late. All of the spots for that day had been reserved. Her heart sunk further than she knew possible. Five hours they had journeyed. For nothing. To watch him die?
Please, God, help! Souple!
A young worker spotted the family, the limp, lethargic boy held close. She took the mom by the hand and led the family past the long line of benches crowded tightly with equally desperate strangers, until they were face to face with a female American doctor who gently asked uncomfortable questions and took foreign notes.
The mom didn’t see any fancy medical equipment. What was wrong with her son, and would this soft-spoken woman be able to help him?
Surprised to find no diarrhea or vomiting, the doctor gently explained the issue: Food and water. The boy’s body was hungry. Starved for nutrients, his energy stores long gone, his body was feeding off of the protein in his muscles.
Yes, there was help. Rehydration. Food. The family sat in a little room together and ate–food filling bellies, relief filling hearts.
Bondye bon tout tan. God is good all the time.
But what if her son had died on the long trek? Or what if she hadn’t made it into the clinic? Would we still say that? God is good all the time? A faith-filled, grounded Yes. But is His timing good?
What do you say to the friend who hasn’t been able to find work for months? To the colleague whose cancer has returned, more ferocious than before? To the parents enduring the unpredictable mental illness of a child? Have you lost a child, a marriage, a business, a dream?
People say the Bible says, “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” It’s not there. That’s a broad-brush misinterpretation of a verse about temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV):
God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
Can we just admit it? Very often, God seems to allow more than we can handle. He seems to enter the scene late. We have been pushed well beyond what we can endure. At least it feels that way. Desperate times call for desperate trust. Because it is more than we can handle on our own.
Are you past the end of your rope? Have your fingertips long left the frayed ends of twine behind?
Trust God one more day.
Don’t be the parent in today’s Bible account! We don’t know or understand her full situation and the culture in which she lived. But if she had waited one more day . . .
Be a trust-er. Trust that you’ll be able to look back to see that you made it one more minute, which became one more hour, and that became days too many to count. Because in the end, God is coming through. In His time.
What do you need to trust God with one more day?
Check out today’s fascinating account from the Bible, and then treasure the time with the Lord as you work through the Digging Deeper questions.
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2 Kings 6:24-33 and 7:1-20 (ESV)
If you can, get out your Bible and read all of 2 Kings 6:24-33 and 7:1-20. Select verses are printed here.
Ben-hadad’s Siege of Samaria
24 Afterward Ben-hadad king of Syria mustered his entire army and went up and besieged Samaria. 25 And there was a great famine in Samaria, as they besieged it, until a donkey’s head was sold for eighty shekels of silver, and the fourth part of a kab of dove’s dung for five shekels of silver. 26 Now as the king of Israel was passing by on the wall, a woman cried out to him, saying, “Help, my lord, O king!” 27 And he said, “If the LORD will not help you, how shall I help you? From the threshing floor, or from the winepress?” 28 And the king asked her, “What is your trouble?” She answered, “This woman said to me, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him today, and we will eat my son tomorrow.’ 29 So we boiled my son and ate him. And on the next day I said to her, ‘Give your son, that we may eat him.’ But she has hidden her son.” 30 When the king heard the words of the woman, he tore his clothes—now he was passing by on the wall—and the people looked, and behold, he had sackcloth beneath on his body— 31 and he said, “May God do so to me and more also, if the head of Elisha the son of Shaphat remains on his shoulders today.” ~~~
Elisha Promises Food
From chapter 7: But Elisha said, “Hear the word of the LORD: thus says the LORD, Tomorrow about this time a seah of fine flour shall be sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, at the gate of Samaria.” ~~~
The Syrians Flee
3 Now there were four men who were lepers at the entrance to the gate. And they said to one another, “Why are we sitting here until we die? 4 If we say, ‘Let us enter the city,’ the famine is in the city, and we shall die there. And if we sit here, we die also. So now come, let us go over to the camp of the Syrians. If they spare our lives we shall live, and if they kill us we shall but die.” 5 So they arose at twilight to go to the camp of the Syrians. But when they came to the edge of the camp of the Syrians, behold, there was no one there. 6 For the LORD had made the army of the Syrians hear the sound of chariots and of horses, the sound of a great army, so that they said to one another, “Behold, the king of Israel has hired against us the kings of the Hittites and the kings of Egypt to come against us.” 7 So they fled away in the twilight and abandoned their tents, their horses, and their donkeys, leaving the camp as it was, and fled for their lives. 8 And when these lepers came to the edge of the camp, they went into a tent and ate and drank, and they carried off silver and gold and clothing and went and hid them. Then they came back and entered another tent and carried off things from it and went and hid them.
9 Then they said to one another, “We are not doing right. This day is a day of good news. If we are silent and wait until the morning light, punishment will overtake us. Now therefore come; let us go and tell the king’s household.” 10 So they came and called to the gatekeepers of the city and told them, “We came to the camp of the Syrians, and behold, there was no one to be seen or heard there, nothing but the horses tied and the donkeys tied and the tents as they were.” ~~~
16 Then the people went out and plundered the camp of the Syrians. So a seah of fine flour was sold for a shekel, and two seahs of barley for a shekel, according to the word of the LORD.
Digging Deeper: A Journey of Trust
Enjoy this chance to connect with God. Talk with Him about these questions. If you like to journal, write down your thoughts. Bullet points work, too! If you enjoy artistic journaling, focus on anguish or faithfulness or Psalm 121.
1. Whether you are in the middle of anguish or sitting at a contented time in your life, it is good to take stock and remind yourself of God’s faithfulness. When in your past has God come through for you? Before He swept in and saved the day, did you think He was coming through in time? Do you remember feeling like His rescue was coming too late or that you weren’t going to make it? Remind yourself of how He came through: What did He do?
2. What phrase from that situation or from your current time with God comes to mind as one you could use to remind yourself of God’s faithfulness? Following are some ideas, but make it your own:
“God showed up.”
“God was with me the whole time. I just didn’t know it.”
“God rescued me then. I know He can do it again.”
“I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.” (Psalm 121:1-2 ESV)
3. What do you need to trust God with one more day? It is not easy to do when you are near the end of your rope. Ask God to help you to trust Him.
4. One of the very best things to do during a time of crisis–or any other time, for that matter–is to praise God. See this story on How to Praise God in the Storm or join your heart with this song: Praise You in This Storm.
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What a beautiful reminder that my own weakness often comes from failure to eat from the Word and drink the Spirit. I set myself up for malnourishment and the inability to function. Thanks for linking up at Inspire Me Monday!
Thanks! I am new to the link-up world and appreciate the opportunity.
Glorious photo. Where is it?
I’ve had the “God won’t give you more than you can handle” line said to me a few times. Usually when I’m drowning. Thanks for sharing its origin.
Natasha, you might not believe this, but that photo was taken at the hotel I stay at when I go to Haiti. It’s right on the ocean, near the foot of where the mountains meet the ocean, and it’s so refreshing to look at after a hard, dusty day of working. Many people in Haiti don’t get to see that view.
People mean well when they say that thing about God not giving us more than we can handle, but then that leads to problems, because sometimes we really are drowning, and then what does that mean about God? When you look at it in context, it’s really helpful to realize where the saying comes from. God is there for us to reach out to, when we really cannot make it on our own. Thank goodness for that.
Such a sad story about the poor starving child in Haiti. I have a dear friend who runs a mission in Haiti. He’s done amazing things from starting an orphanage, to a school, and now a medical clinic. Thank you for reminding me again why it’s so important that we keep supporting his mission.
That is so great. His work is so important. I’m currently working with a young man to find an organization who will support a school he is connected with. They cannot pay their teachers. It is amazing what people go without. It puts my life in so much better perspective. A bed and a pillow, that’s gravy.
I often think my timing is perfect,and I try to boss God. But I forget that I only see a sliver of the universe, and God knows everything. I should trust in His plan!
We control freaks have a rough road! I shouldn’t assume you are one, but I am definitely a control freak. I figure I give God lots of material for molding and shaping. lol