Study Guide: Make Room

Sunday May 14, 2017 | Nicole Bullock

Focus Scripture:

Brief Summary:

God gives us dreams for our future. Yet, the circumstances and demands of life have a way of causing us to put those dreams away or forget them all together. How do we allow God to awaken us to the dreams he offers us? In this powerful message, Nicole Bullock (Co-Pastor of Blue Oaks Church in Brooklyn Center, MN) shares the story of a Shunammite woman who makes room for God in the face of paralyzing discouragement. Nicole also shares her own story of keeping faith in God through the uncertainty of seemingly-hopeless circumstances.

Extended Summary:

Nicole Bullock shared a powerful story in 2 Kings 4:8, about an unlikely friendship between Elisha the Prophet and a wealthy Shunammite woman. Whenever Elisha passed through her region, the woman would offer him a meal to honor God’s representative. After a while, the woman and her husband decided to make room in their house for Elisha to stay and rest upon passing through. The woman’s hospitality and willingness to make room for God in her life caused Elisha to be overcome with gratitude. Elisha asks what he can to for her as an expression of his gratitude for her generous hospitality.

Nicole notes how wonderful it is, when you tirelessly give yourself to others and someone asks, “How can we bless you back; what can we do for YOU?”

The Shunammite woman hesitates at first, but then Elisha is told that she wants a son. Elisha declares that God will give her a son within one year.

The Shunammite woman created space in her home for others and this makes space for God to move in her life. We want to be the kind of Kingdom people who create environments where people can become who God has called them to be. Elisha and the woman become friends in this way, and it’s interesting that the materializing of this woman’s dream begins with her hospitality toward someone else.

“Hospitality is the creation of free space where a

stranger can come in and be a friend.”

– Henri Nouwen

Immediately when Elisha declares this blessing on her, she responds in a way that reveals deep discouragement and lost hope from year after year of seeing her dream unfulfilled.

Nicole asks, “Have you ever been disappointed in such a way that you feel de-moralized? When your God-given dreams don’t come to pass, the heart gets sick.

The Shunammite woman had taken her dream and stuffed it down deep. She had taken her dream and put it away because she didn’t believe that it would come to pass anymore. She had lost hope.

Then Elisha comes along and says “you can take that dream off the shelf and make room for God to answer this prayer.” Because when a dream comes true for us there is life and there is joy, as Psalm 126 declares. The Shunammite woman had put the dream away, but now she’s invited to take it back out and make room for God again, and she does.

Imagine the joy she experienced when her son was born – God had given her a dream and had brought it to pass. The Celebration must have been a momentous occasion. And she lived happily ever after.

Not exactly…

One day when her son had grown older, he fell ill and died in his mother’s lap. She carried him to the guest room made for Elisha, laid him on the bed, closed the door and left. Have you ever had a dream that you didn’t want to think about any more and didn’t want to be discouraged about anymore…and you put it in a room and shut the door and left it there? Instead of trusting God, sometimes we close the door on God and we sulk out of fear of becoming disappointed like that again.

Nicole shares her story of wanting a child, but her and her husband struggle with infertility – her dream looked impossible. Yet she read Matthew 7:7-11 and began laying hold of the promise of God, strengthening her faith. She developed a mantra: “God, you are a good Father and you love to give good gifts.” She realized that God wanted her to ask again.

Reflection Questions:


  1. What is a dream that God has given you?
  2. What obstacles have discouraged you the most in seeing God’s dream come to fruition?
  3. How might God be moving in ways you may not have considered?
  4. How might you go about making room for God to move in your situation?
  5. What can you hold on to as an anchor for your faith when you experience discouragement? A word from God? A Scripture? Encouragement from a friend?