A Little Oil

Disappointment is the emotional debt we pay for unrealized dreams.

2 Kings 4

1 The wife of a man from the company of the prophets cried out to Elisha, “Your servant my husband is dead, and you know that he revered the Lord. But now his creditor is coming to take my two boys as his slaves.”

2 Elisha replied to her, “How can I help you? Tell me, what do you have in your house?”

“Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”

Disappointment is the emotional debt we pay for unrealized dreams, for the investments made into unfulfilled expectations. It accrues over a long period of time and then the debt collector comes calling.

Expectation allows us to make withdrawals on the future and enjoy it before it arrives. But hope deferred makes the heart sick (Proverbs 13:12). Disappointment comes when we have invested energy in dreaming of something that doesn’t arrive. We overextend our hearts, our expectations, and then we must pay with disappointment.

When we dream and plan, we are investing emotional energy in the future. When this investment fails to materialize we are left with an emotional deficit. Our heart is in the red. This happens when we have spent yesterday’s energy on tomorrow’s dreams and are now left with insufficient emotional reserves to cover today’s needs.

Revival Culture and the Danger of Disappointment

There is something about revival that causes one to extend themselves, to live for the future. It’s similar to a bull market in finance; it seems it will last forever…until it doesn’t. People begin to take wild risks in a bull market. They do in times of revival as well.

But it is at the point of the downturn that fortunes are made. This is true financially, but it is true spiritually as well. What you do between outpourings is as important - if not more so - than what you do during one.

This widow had been married to one of the Sons of the prophets. He had attended the strongest school of supernatural ministry in his generation. He had witnessed the miracles of Elijah first hand. Now, Elijah the prophetic father was dead only to be followed by his own premature death. His wife was now left to deal with the debt he’d left behind.

Contending for the future in a prophetic culture, one “married to the prophetic”, can be especially challenging. If there is one thing I have learned from pastoring prophetic people, it is that the prophetic can generate tremendous spiritual momentum. I have also learned it can generate tremendous disappointment if not stewarded properly.

How do we pay the debts of the revival years? How do we make good on the heady plans made when God was moving so powerfully? The answer already lies in the house of those touched by the move of God: look for the leftover oil.

There was a little oil left from his labors. What the last move had left was the key to not only settling her past debts, it was the key to providing for her future. The dreams were yet to be realized, but only if she used the oil.


God, the Original Father

Fatherhood is not a human invention or a biological coincidence. It is not a construct of some patriarchal conspiracy, an attempt by men to keep the power. Fatherhood emanates from God. He is the original. Paul tells us in Ephesians 3:15 that all fatherhood derives its name, its identity, from God.

WE as fathers are an expression of who He is. We flow from Him. God does not use the term to relate with us. He uses it with us as an expression of Who He is.

We need to realize that all of creation emanates from God. Just as an artist’s creation is an expression of themselves and therefore gives us insight into their true identity, so scripture tells us that all of creation bears witness to Him, revealing His eternal power and divine nature. Fatherhood is one such expression revealing who He really is.

Our human roles are reflections of the Divine, hints of the eternal order, faded expressions of the original that is God. He is not taking on our roles in an ill-fitted attempt to relate with us. The essence of who He is is a Father. We are the reflection, He is the reality. We have been assigned these roles as His created sons. But through the fall these have been twisted, distorting the real and original through the fall.

When trying to define fatherhood, we must not begin with man as the example. When we do, we reduce the concept of a father to the frail attempts of human fathers to be dads. We then superimpose their failures and deficiencies upon our Heavenly Father. This drives us to the faulty presupposition that God will fail us like our earthly fathers.

Earthly fatherhood was intended to aid us in our relationship with the Heavenly Father, showing us the way to Him (how to relate with God as a Father, how to see ourselves as sons and men of God, etc). Now, due to the fall, fatherhood has all to often become a hindrance.

When we start with God however, we then have the proper lens through which to interpret what true fatherhood is, and it equips us to face the hardships of life. When we start with God, He redeems the phrase and even the relationship. We are then able to extend grace to the broken sons our fathers were.

God’s revelation of Himself as Father is the first step in redeeming us from the fall. He wants to redeem this idea, this concept, and elevate it once again.

Dad, you pave the way for your kids to relate with God. Your example, your relationship with them and with God serve as a template pressed into the moldable clay of their young minds. This holy stewardship must be recognized for what it is.

But guys, you can give what you don’t have. We, like Jesus, need to hear the Father speak “you are my son in whom I am well pleased.” This is the revelation of the love of God that Paul prays for in Ephesians 3. He prays we “would know this love that surpasses knowledge.” He is saying we need an encounter that is beyond our ability to study ourselves into. We need a revelation of the true Father and His love for us as sons. Only then can we represent Him well as Fathers ourselves. - David L. Olson