Three events from the life of a Shunnamite woman are introduced with the phrase “it fell on a day:”
- The first time she saw the prophet Elisha and persuaded him to eat dinner at her home (2 Kings 4:8).
- When Elisha and his servant came to stay at her house, and he promised that she would bear a son (2 Kings 4:11).
- When her child died, and she persuaded Elisha to come raise him from the dead (2 Kings 4:18).
These are the only three times in the King James Version of the Bible that this phrase appears. It is a translation of two Hebrew words: way-hi (וַיְהִ֨י), which means “it came to pass,” or “it happened,” and hayom (הַיּ֜וֹם), which means “the day.”
It’s important to make plans, but it’s also important to be open to the experiences which may fall in front of us on a given day. This woman didn’t know when she woke up each of those mornings that she would meet a prophet, receive a miraculous blessing, or lose and then regain her son. She couldn’t have anticipated those events, which simply fell into her life, and which she responded to with faith.
Limhi had given up hope of finding his people when a search party led by Ammon arrived at his city (Mosiah 7:2-14, Mosiah 21:23). Amulek was traveling to visit a relative when he met Alma and invited him into his home (Alma 10:7-8). King Lamoni was dealing with marauders and preparing to attend a feast hosted by his father when Ammon arrived in his kingdom (Alma 17:19-25, 18:7, 9). None of them could have anticipated these life-changing events, and it was important for all of them to shift gears and take advantage of these opportunities when they arrived.
Elder Michael T. Ringwood interprets the phrase “it fell on a day” to mean “important events happen according to God’s timing and no detail is too small for Him.” He went on to apply this phrase to our lives:
Heavenly Father has a personal plan of happiness for each of us. Because God sent His Beloved Son for us, the miracles we need will “[fall] on [the very] day” necessary for His plan to be fulfilled.“For God So Loved Us,” General Conference, April 2022
Today, I will be open to unexpected events. Like the Shunnamite woman, and like Limhi, Amulek, and Lamoni, I will adapt as opportunities present themselves. I will remember that some of our most important experiences don’t grow out of our plans but simply fall into our lives according to God’s timing.