They were trapped, surrounded… capture was inevitable. In 2 Kings 6, the prophet Elisha and his servant had sought shelter in the town of Dothan. For months the King of Aram had commanded his armies to locate and capture this prophet who had been sharing sensitive military intelligence with the King of Israel. And, now at night, the armies of Aram had tracked the
prophet and his servant to Dothan,
and the city was surrounded.
Early in the morning, Elisha’s servant woke up and went to the window, and saw that the city was surrounded by an army with horses and chariots. He cried out to Elisha:
“Oh, my lord, what shall we do?”
I find myself feeling that way often these days. It’s easy to be discouraged… I thought that through conscientious following of the suggested guidelines and vaccinations we would be finished with COVID by now, but the virus has found new life again and cases are rising. Old mandates I thought we were done with are back again and our communities are dealing with a greater sense of uncertainty and fear. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?”
The church is in a time of transition. It feels a bit like being a trapeze artist who has let go of one bar and is flying through the air towards their partner who will catch them. In transition language, this is the “Neutral Zone” where you have left what is known and comfortable and are moving towards the unknown next. The Neutral Zone feels uncomfortable at times, but also can be a powerful time of innovation where new ideas and programs are born. “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?”
Elisha says to his servant, “Don’t be afraid. Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
Do I really believe that? Do I believe that God is greater than the struggles I see in and around me? Greater than COVID… Church transition… racial tensions and the comfort of the status quo? Greater than insecurity… broken families… the changing sexual norms and depression? Greater than our political divide… materialism… wars raging around the world and cancer? Greater than unemployment… human trafficking… anxious children and fear of the future?
Elisha then prays a simple prayer: “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.”
Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
At first, all the servant could see was the army of their enemy. All the servant could see was certain capture and probable execution. When the Lord opened his “spiritual eyes” he could see the Lord’s army which provided hope and expectation of a way home. I feel like I need the Lord to open my spiritual eyes. I need to see where He is at work, the foundation he is building, the innovations he is bringing to our church. I need to see healing and hope and God’s provision. But in order to see these miracles, I need to have eyes that are open… spiritual eyes to see.
I believe it begins with a simple prayer: “Open my eyes, Lord, so that I may see.” And then throughout my day being attentive to those moments where God is at work… the connection with friends over coffee, the inner desire to be about grace and forgiveness, the enthusiasm of volunteers at VBS, a deep conversation in a hospital room, missionaries who remain passionate about their mission in the midst of difficulty… there are glimpses of God’s grace all throughout the day. I just need to have eyes to see.
In the midst of uncertain days may you have eyes to see God’s grace in your life and in the lives of those you love.
“Lord, open our eyes that we may see.”