To an above, the clouds perspective…
The Journey begins in every heart, that we will prepare our lives to see things differently…
A story in the Bible, that may be familiar the story is about a woman in the bible and we don’t even know her name. So many of us can identify with her, you aren’t the one on the platform, you’re not the one who’s a pastor, you’re not the one who’s a leader. Sometimes you may feel like I’m somebody in the crowd within the church, and you’re not sure if anyone really even knows your name, but it doesn’t matter who in the room knows your name because God doesn’t only know your name but he has your number, he knows everything about you he knows everything concerning you, he is not caught up with a few people who are upon the platform, he is in every single aisle every single seat he knows exactly what’s going on in your situation.
I love the fact that in this story we don’t even know this woman’s name but her story is told to us in 2 Kings and it’s in 2 Kings 4 that we find out about this woman and from her story; I’m going to pull out some principles because she went on a climb. She went on a journey to change her perspective about a situation that she had lived with for a long time. She went through struggles and she went through challenges but she got there in the end.
You know God wants you to get there, he wants you to get to the place that he has called you to be, he wants you to get to the place of freedom that he has destined for you but it will take a journey and it will take commitment. This woman’s journey begins because she becomes aware that a man of God keeps coming through town. The prophet of God keeps traveling thorough and her attention is drawn that this guy seems to keeps coming through town and bringing the word of God so she says to her husband one day “I think we should make room so when this guy though town he stays at our house I would like to prepare a space so when he is traveling through he won’t have to worry about where he is going to sleep or what he’s going to eat but I would like to clear a space in our home for him to stay”
2 Kings 4:1-10 One day Elisha went to Shunem. And a well-to-do woman was there, who urged him to stay for a meal. So whenever he came by, he stopped there to eat. She said to her husband, “I know that this man who often comes our way is a holy man of God. Let’s make a small room on the roof and put in it a bed and a table, a chair and a lamp for him (Let’s go to Ikea). Then he can stay there whenever he comes to us.”
I want you to know if you want the voice of God in your life, if you want to hear God, if you want to get from God what you need for your future then you’re going to have to do what she did first, you’ve got to clear some space and you’re going to have to make some room. Some of you haven’t even signed up for a small group because “I’m too busy” So what are you too busy to hear the God word over your life? Too busy with sports arrangements and kids’ calendars and diaries and your social calendar? Is that more important than making some space in your calendar so that God can speak into your future? See we want God to speak to us but we don’t want to make room for him. If you want God to do something different in your life you’re going to have to find a new space for God to speak.
The woman knew there was this man of God was coming through town and she knew there would be places in town where he would speak, so she could go to a meeting he may be at, she could go be around him and be in the crowd, But I love how it says that she looked at her husband and said “I’ve noticed he keeps coming by my way and I want when he comes by my way for him to stay here with us I want the word of the man that carries the word of God in our home under our roof I want him to be at our table, I want him to eat our food, I want him the atmosphere of our home” She had a hunger and desire to be around the word that was in his mouth from God and you know what? We’ve got to get back to basics We need to clear spaces in our lives where we have the same desperation. That I would like to linger around a little longer around someone that has a word of life for me. I would like to linger around a little longer the scripture that has something in it that is hope for me and my future. I want to linger around a little longer I want to be in the small group, I don’t want to just go on Sunday, I want to be in the study I want to pray about it, I want to think about it. Why? Because I want to go places. I’m not satisfied with where I am right now.
As your walking through this life you need to start clearing some space you’re going to have to clear out the room in your life, you’re going to have to clear out space for God to be able to speak, you’re going to have to work the ground. It’s like building your base camp, you have to get the basic area and say “This is where I’m starting, God I’m making some room for you, I’m clearing out a space for you” The word goes on to say that because she cleared out a space for the man of God something happened. If you will clear out a space for God something is going to happen for you.
What happened next took her by surprise because God was about to speak to her about something that she had hidden for years. If you make some space that thing you think God is going to speak to you about it’s not going to be what he is going to talk to you about he is going to go way deeper with you, he is after something deep within you that you think he doesn’t remember. I think God is after you going up to the attic of your life and bringing down some dead dreams and believing again for a new perspective, I think God is after you collecting the broken relationship that you say I can’t pray one more thing about it, my relationship kid is so far gone I can’t cry another tear about it, I think God will say “I want to take you on a journey and we’re going to get a new perspective and I’m going to give you a new way forward but you’ve got to be willing to go get it out of the attic of your life.”
She cleared some space and one day, and one day when the servant of God was in that space he said to his servant “What can we do for this woman?” and he said to her in verse 12. He said; call to her and see what he can do for her and tell her you’ve gone through all this trouble for me, you made room for me, you joined a small group for me, you put me in your schedule, now what can I do for you? (God wants to do something for you) Listen to what she said because this is so us He said “Can I speak on your behalf to the king for you, can I speak to the commander of the army for you and she goes “no no no I’m good, I’m fine, I don’t have high expectations, I’ll deal with my crummy job I’ll live with this pay rate my relationships are ok, not really seeing any miracles but you know what I’m good, because I’m from a town where we really don’t expect very much, so I’m satisfied ” She gave a answer back that was just like that she said “I have a home here among my people” and he said “No what can I do for you” she wouldn’t answer so Gehazi fills in some information about her life he says “She has no son and her husband is old” So Elijah calls her to stand in the doorway… (Some of you when you make some space God is going to call you into a doorway, it’s going to be a doorway of opportunity for you to believe in something’s that you have stopped believing for, it’s going to be a doorway that’s going to require you to open up some stuff up with God that you have shut down)
She stands in the doorway and he speaks a word to her “About this time next year,” Elisha said, “you will hold a son in your arms.” Now listen to her reply, She says “oh no my lord don’t mislead your servant” The new living translation says She cries out “No no no no please don’t get my hopes up”
You see some of you won’t aren’t even going to sign up for this climb because you tried climbing once before, you fell and you failed and you didn’t get the breakthrough you were believing for. The thing that you prayed and you asked God for it didn’t seem to happen for you. So, when there is talk of a mountain, scaling a mountain and climbing to a high height, you’re “no no no don’t get my hopes up again, don’t get me to get that stuff out of the attic again, don’t get me to get prepared again, take me on an adventure again, I’ve been there I did it, I prayed the prayer God didn’t heal my cancer, I prayed the prayer and my baron womb never opened, I prayed the prayer and my marriage got worst and not better, I prayed the prayer and my child is still an addict, I don’t want to go there anymore I just want to box that dream up, and I would like you to leave it alone ”
But the Man of God said I need you to stand in a doorway, a doorway of possibility. You see if you will make room for God, if you will prepare space he will bring you into a doorway of opportunity. You will begin to speak things over your life, where your hopes will be like “I don’t know if I can go there again” but, God will speak the word anyway.
What I’ve discovered about “basecamps” and about “doorways” is that you can’t stay there for long. The only reason you build a basecamp, the only reason you begin to prepare ground is because there is something coming, there is a journey, as much as we like to stay in the comfort of the base, as much as we would like to say ok, I made room for you God and that’s about as far as I’m going, every doorway that I have found leads to a hallway takes you into a hallway. When you make the room, God will get you in the doorway and begin to speak something to you, but then you’re going to have to begin the climb. Your like “really I don’t mind laying out all shiny equipment buying the cool boots that look like you should be a climber, I don’t mind dressing up in it and walking around my bedroom, but really I’m not going anywhere, I don’t any intention of going up any mountain anytime soon and I’m going to just return this stuff I bought after I dress up in gear and go to my small group and I’m going to pretend, I’ll have the backpack and the boots but the tags will still be on cause I ain’t up for no climb. I’m tired, I’m too busy, I don’t want to do it ”
But when God begins to open things up in your heart, you will have a choice. Whether you’re going to work for this, you weather if you don’t want it that much. You see can’t just say “God fix my marriage” without a climb to fix it.. “but God I would like the prayer line where you just get zapped and everything is fine” but Gods like no you’re going to go on a climb, you’re going to go on a journey you’re going to have to go somewhere with me and it’s not always going to look like you’re going to want it to look.
Now, the next part of this story with throw some, and you’re not going to like it. Because usually when God begins to open a doorway, as soon as the “Hope is raised” the trouble also comes through the same door. That’s why often we don’t believe in big things, because we know when we believe in big things that big trouble also follows. We don’t particularly want the big dream because the big dream has a big price tag, but you can’t talk about scaling mountains and expect not to come out with no scrap or no bruise.
So, this woman believes and says ok and all of a sudden, she’s told she’s going to have a baby a hope that she’s given up years ago. I think maybe the spare room in their house was there because she thought one day it would be a nursery, and after years and years of never getting pregnant, never having a child, and her husband now being old, that room has become empty.
God is looking for those places in your life, they are empty because you gave up. So now she finds herself with this miracle, she finds herself pregnant just like the man of God told her even though she was like “don’t do this don’t get my hopes up”, but here she is with a child who was born and the child grows. She’s just beginning to leave her doorway and enter her hallway and go down her hallway aka the hallway of your climb, your climb will take you down a hallway, a ledge you’re going to have to navigate of trust, ledge you’re going to have to navigate of leaning into God.
What happens next is pretty shocking, because one day this miracle son is out in the yard with his dad and he sudden begins to say “My head, my head” in Verse 19 and the father says “Take him to his mother” so the servant lifted the boy (Verse 20) carried him to his mother, and this boy this miracle that she didn’t even ask for, sat on her lap and then he died. Have you ever seen God move in your life and your like that’s amazing and then you let it roll a little more and you’re like that’s not amazing, I didn’t know that this was going to happen, I didn’t know God when I set off on this journey that I was going to encounter this kind of obstacle. All of a sudden, she’s going from the joy of being in the doorway opportunity to the grief of losing this child, this thing that she said don’t get my hopes up about, and now her hopes are dashed. I have to tell you on this journey there are going to be moments where it gets worse before it gets better, I have to tell you that you will be tested in your perseverance and your stamina because that’s what journeys look like with God. They look like high and low but God is in both.
This boy dies and I want to show you a few things she does on her “hallway” as she’s climbing through this situation, I want to show you these few things because I think you should take note of them because I think you’re going to have to pull them out along your climb and apply them yourself. Here are a few things she did in her hallways on her climb it says in verse 21 That the first thing she did, is she picked up the boy and she took the boy the dead body and took him back to the room where the promise was spoken, in other words, She picked up the problem and she took it back to the place of promise and she shut the door, she picked up what was dead and she took it back to the place where life was spoken and she shut the door. I don’t know about you, but in school when you had to walk through the hallways you didn’t want to carry a lot of baggage and left things in your locker because that is what it was for because the more stuff you tried to get down the hallway between class the more you blocked other people.
At this moment in her journey, she had a choice to make, and this is often what we do in the church when something dies when something happens doesn’t look like we thought it would look, when we are disappointed or we are offended on the journey of our climb we began to pick up our disappointment we begin to pick up our offense we begin to pick up the sense of weariness and what we do next is not what she did, we began to go “Look everybody look” begin to go out and show off our hurt and our offense and we begin to want to have a conversation about it and share it with others and we won’t give it air time we want to carry it with us to church on Sunday to the small groups during the week we want to carry it with us where ever we go and air it out. But she didn’t tell anybody she didn’t carry the boy anywhere she just took him back to the place where he became a possibility. She was like I can’t carry this death, I have to go lay it down and trust God, I’ve’ got to put it back in that place where it was first born and some of you won’t make this journey unless you take some of your dead stuff and put it back on the promise of God. You cannot carry a dead dream up a mountain with you, you have to trust God and lay it down on his word, on his faithfulness, on his promise. You can’t carry all that hurt from the last church on the climb of this adventure, you can’t carry all your confusion and all your questions there comes a point where if you want to get up higher you’re going have to drop some stuff lower, you’re going to have to lay somethings down. She took the boy, she laid him down on the bed and then she shut the door.
After she shut the door she said to her husband, I’m going to see the man of God. In other words, “I’m off on my climb, I have some questions, I need some answers, I’m going to climb and get them, I’m not carrying the dead thing with me, I’m leaving it but I’m going to get my answer I’m going to get a different perspective, I’m going to go figure out what’s going on here. So she says to her husband simply I’m going to see the man of God and her husband says to her “why go to him today?” he has no idea what’s going on, Verse 23“Why go to him today?” he asked. “It’s not the New Moon or the Sabbath., To which she said, “it’s ok, everything’s fine”. Everything was not fine, his son had just died there was a body in the bedroom, this wasn’t a fine day. But, I think she knew rule #2 When you’re on a climb you limit your conversation you save your oxygen, you don’t talk to people you don’t need to be talking to. You don’t have a conversation that’s not helpful for where you’re going. You see, she knew at that moment that if I tell why I am going, then not only now to I have to deal with my doubt but I have his doubt too, not only do I have to deal with my disappointment but I have to deal with his too. So now I will be stuck in a conversation when I actually should be climbing, this isn’t helping me get to where I need to be, but it’s taking me back to where I should not be.
Some of you are in a season of transition and change, and you need to know you will not make it to where God needs you to be if you keep stopping in the hallway and having those conversations. “What really went on” “Well what did they say” “well what’s happening, why did that happen” “I’m sure there’s more you want to tell me”. Not everything is Fine I’m just going to where God told me to go, I have a place I need to be, and right now this conversation is keeping me from my miracle. In your small groups, be careful of the conversations you will have, when you’re going through the sermon, control the conversation that happens in that space, because your trying to get people higher and not lower. So, when the conversation begins to be unhealthy and begins to take you down the mountain instead of up the mountain, then you need to say “I think we need to stop talking”. Like when you were in school, you don’t stop and talk in the hallway because then you stop, you stop people from moving forward down the hallway, and when you do that you start blocking people from their miracle because you are stopping and talking in an unhelpful way. The conversations you have will either help people get up the mountain or keep them stuck on the ledge. We have to be careful with who we talk with when we’re not even sure what’s going on. You see when you are confused don’t share your confusion, trust the God who has clarity. Get to the man of God that has an answer, go to the prophet of God who has the word of God in his mouth not the gossip of god. Be careful who you talk to on your climb. So, she said to her husband, everything is fine.
In the next part, she saddled the donkey and said to the servant “Go for it, and don’t slow down unless I’m falling off” This chick was like “I’m going somewhere get out of my way”. The hallways are not a place for hanging out, it’s a place for passing through, it’s not a place where you set up camp and some of you have set up camp in your hallway you’ve got so far, you believed God for something and a disappointment happened, it doesn’t look like you thought it would, you ended up talking to someone who is also disappointed, also doesn’t really like the church, also has some issues with that person, and now you’re in a conversation and your like you know what I might as well hang here a little longer, so now what you’re doing is moving into your hallway, I’m just going to bring my recliner right here to the ledge because I’m kinda tired I think I’ll just sit here. Not before long not only have you sat there, but your reclining here, and not only are you reclining here, but your gonna take a little nap here, you know what the enemy does he goes let me help you this is a great place for you to stay five years, let me move your tv in here for you free of charge and I’ll give you the remote control and I’ll tell you what to fill your eyes and ears with that will distract you from where you’re supposed to be just live in this box don’t get above the clouds. Then you begin to live in a place that was never the destination that you set out for but in your mind, you compromised that it’s good enough, I got halfway, I got part of the way I’m not sure I want to go any further. If you’re going to get above the clouds you cannot camp on the ledge. You can’t stay mid-climb a move in, you will die there, and so will all the things that are attached to your life.
Clear the space, no talking in the hallway, no extra baggage allowed. The best part about this story is yes, she gets to the man of God, and she has another would say “tell me what’s going on” Ghazi wants to know, and she says “no no no I’m not going to tell you either” So she gets to the man of God and when she gets to him she throws herself at his feet and she beings to say “I told you not to get my hopes up” You see I’m not saying on this journey it’s pain-free or that your frustration-free, I’m just saying make sure when you vent your frustration it’s in front of the answer. So, she told the man of God I told you in the doorway to not have me believe and you have me believe and then this happened on the climb and I don’t get it. The story goes that she has a miracle happen that he comes back to the home, and he raises the boy back to life, and you might think that’s the end of the story, and you may say “that’s great that’s good enough” But this is what I believe God has for you in this season God’s not going to do just enough he’s actually going to do more than enough. You see going above the cloud is higher than the peak of the mountain, it’s not settling for a cloud view but an above the cloud view, And God had an above the cloud for her, see the miracle would have been a peak moment, the miracle of her son coming back to life would be like the man that was awesome but it was almost like God what was all that about. Have you ever been through something in your life and was like what in the world was that about, why did I have to lose that in order to gain it again, why did I have to have that struggle, in the middle of this journey God what is going on. You see I think God has some perspectives, for you to find out on this journey that is going to give meaning for years that you have not understood because this is not the end of her story the above the clouds end of her story, actually happens a few chapters later In 2 Kings 8 we revisit this woman and what happens is there has been a famine in the land and she’s had to leave her home, leave all her belongings, we know she’s a well off woman and she has to leave everything they have worked for, and they have been away from their land for many years. One day this woman decides it’s time to go back home, she wants to go back home and she takes a risk and goes to the king palace, talk about an above the clouds experience, She goes into the courtroom area where the king meets because she is desperate to be restored to the place that she loves and it says this When the women got to the king’s palace, its says that the king was there and he was talking in 2 Kings 8:4 The king had been speaking to Gehazi, the attendant of the man of God, saying, “Tell me all the great things Elisha has done.” And Just as Gehazi was telling the king “well there was this time Elisha restored this dead boy to life” At this moment this woman walked into the courtyard and Gehazi saw her and said “this is the woman whose son I was just telling you about this is her and this is the boy” and the king looks at her and says “because of what you have been through today I assign you an official who will give you back everything you have lost in the land the last seven years all interest in your home from the day you left will be restored to you. Why? Because when God is going to do an above the clouds miracle in your life, it doesn’t stop with the boy coming back to life it stops with everything being paid back to you and then some every tear every heartache everything your like I don’t know how I got through it, Gods like keep going because above the clouds I have a whole new perspective of the problem you are facing above the cloud you will see I will get payback for your of your pain, above the cloud I will give you back everything you thought I couldn’t give you back, above the clouds you will see your story will save someone else’s life, above the clouds you will see I was always bigger and I was always greater and I always had a plan to make sure your pain paid out into your future.
You’re about to start a journey my question to you is Will you let God take you on a climb? Will you make some room? And when you made some room will you let him speak into you in a way that may pull out something that you may have packaged away, and then will you go with him down that hallway, and will you stop some conversations and will you drop some baggage, will you stop loitering where you should be moving, and then when you think there will you go a little further will you take another step will you get a higher perspective, because you see Her miracle wasn’t just for her, it was for you her story now is your faith today, her journey is now food for your soul and its never about just you, but unless you’re willing to go above the clouds it will only remain with you.