Draw Close to God

“Lift Up Your Son”

2 KINGS 4:8-37

THE death of a child is among the most painful losses a human can experience. Jehovah God has the power to undo such losses. We know that this is true because he empowered a few men in Bible times to resurrect the dead. One case, recounted at 2 Kings 4:8-37, involved the resurrection of a young boy by the prophet Elisha.

The story unfolds in the city of Shunem. A barren woman and her husband extend kindness to Elisha, regularly offering him food and lodging. One day, the grateful prophet tells the woman: “At this appointed time next year you will be embracing a son.” The day she thought would never come finally dawns, and true to Elisha’s word she holds a baby son in her arms. Sadly, her joy is short-lived. A few years later, the boy suffers a severe headache while in a field and is carried home, where he dies “upon [his mother’s] knees.” (Verses 16, 19, 20) The bereaved mother lifts up the little corpse and gently places it on the couch that so often has served as the prophet’s bed.

Without delay and with her husband’s consent, she makes the trip of some 20 miles [30 km] to Mount Carmel to see Elisha. Upon meeting him, she does not give way to wailing or weeping or other ways of expressing acute sorrow. Is it because she has heard that Elijah, Elisha’s predecessor, had restored life to the son of a widow? (1 Kings 17:17-23) Does the Shunammite have faith that Elisha could do the same for her young son? Whatever the case, she refuses to leave for home until Elisha agrees to go with her.

Back in Shunem, Elisha alone enters the room he knows so well and sees the lifeless body “upon his couch.” (Verse 32) The prophet approaches Jehovah with what must be an intensity of supplication. Then, as Elisha holds the little body, “gradually the child’s flesh [grows] warm.” The once still, tender heart is beating again! Elisha summons the mother and utters the words that must turn her agony into unbridled joy: “Lift up your son.”​—Verses 34, 36.

The account of the resurrection of the Shunammite woman’s son is a source of hope and comfort. Jehovah understands the grief of parents who have lost a child in death. What is more, he yearns to undo such losses. (Job 14:14, 15) The resurrections performed by Elisha and others in Bible times are a token of what Jehovah will do on a far grander scale in his righteous new world to come. *

The Bible’s promise of a resurrection does not eliminate the pain of losing a loved one. One faithful Christian man who lost his only child said: “My pain will not be gone completely until I can hold my son again.” Imagine the prospect of being reunited with your loved ones who have died. Just the thought of being able to hold them again can make your pain easier to bear. Are you moved to learn more about the God who gives us this precious hope?


^ par. 5 For more information about the Bible’s promise of a resurrection, see chapter 7 of the book What Does the Bible Really Teach? published by Jehovah’s Witnesses.