Do you sometimes feel alone and afraid? Do you enjoy meeting new and unexpected challenges? Or are you like me, preferring routine? Do you have a tendency to see life as “a cup half full” or do you find yourself seeing things more as “a cup half empty?”
It’s easy to interpret circumstances and interruptions from our perspective rather than from God’s vantage spot. Let’s look at two widely divergent responses to trouble in 2 Kings, chapter 6. Here’s a little background. Israel and Syria are at war. God forewarns Israel’s prophet Elisha of Syria’s military plans, and Elisha warns the king of Israel. This happens so frequently that the king of Syria expects he has a spy in his camp. Learning that the culprit is Elisha, the Syrian king sends his army at night to capture the prophet.
This is where the story gets so exciting! When Elisha and his servant went to bed, all was safe and quiet. In the morning Elisha’s assistant gets up early and goes outside for fresh air before starting his day. What he saw freaked him out! He ran back into the house to tell Elisha that the city was surrounded by the Syrian army. Frantically, he asked the prophet, “What are we going to do? They are here to kill us! There’s no way out.”
Elisha calmly responded to his servant, “Don’t worry. We have more on our side than they have.” If I was the servant, I would have said, “What! Get your eyes checked. Can’t you see how bad the situation is?” Elisha knew his assistant was freaking out, so he prayed. But his wasn’t a prayer of worry or fear. He didn’t plead with God to miraculously deliver them. He calmly prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so he may see.”
When God opened the servant’s eyes, he saw into the spirit realm. The hills around the city, encircling the Syrian army, were full of horses and chariots of fire! God had sent His angelic army to protect Elisha and his servant. Elisha could remain calm because he saw situations from God’s perspective. I wish I was more like Elisha. I often get worked up over the smallest of things.
God hasn’t promised to always send an angelic army to protect me, but He has promised that He will always be with me and never leave me. I don’t only have the King’s army, but I have the King of the Universe with me. Why do I get so upset and worried and fearful? God won’t allow anything to upset my life that He is unaware of, or that He doesn’t have a plan to use it for good. Romans 8:28 gets overused, but it remains true, “We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” Read the rest of the story to discover how God miraculously delivered Elisha and his servant. It’s an amazing story!
How can we handle disruptions and problems that sneak up and take us by surprise? When suddenly a storm arises and threatens to upset our boat, how can we react better? Maybe by not being so quick to draw a conclusion as to whether the situation is good or bad. Maybe we should thank God that He is with us and will walk with us through the storm.
It’s easy to interpret some events as good – a job offer, a positive pregnancy test, an acceptance letter from college. Others we interpret as bad – a neck-breaking dive into shallow water, a car accident, discovery of a malignancy, a job layoff. Some events forever alter the direction of our lives. Others are only inconveniences.
Maybe I should say a prayer like Elisha’s more often, “Oh Lord, thank You for being with me. Open MY eyes that I might see from Your perspective and face this situation with faith in Your ability to handle it.”