(from the archives)
This life stirs deep, doesn’t it?
And there is no way for that stirring to swing easy.
We are affected.
It takes courage to let something be what it is.
We can tend to busy-up around an issue.
We almost cannot get our values away from this.
We, the fixers, have problems with the unruly stuff like:
Those things that will not be contained and stored.
Or hidden away.
Those things that will not be stifled.
In this moment.
It quietly whispers…
What is making you afraid?
Jesus is already there.
Already in it.
Already making a way.
“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
“By faith Moses…left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.”
“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”
Sometimes we only need to have our eyes opened.
Especially when any antagonizing force stands persistently against us.
When our enemy has us surrounded and we feel like they (any ‘they’) have won.
Elisha has been teaching me this over the last weeks.
Kneading hope into my days.
A story amidst all the Kings.
“Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel…”
2 Kings 6:8
And Elisha, the Man of God, repeatedly warned the king of Israel of the Arameans plans with accuracy and miraculous foresight so that the Aramean strategies were completely thwarted.
“Go find out where [Elisha] is,” the king [of Aram] ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back, “He is in Dothan.”
Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there.
They went by night and surrounded the city.
When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city.
“Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.
“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered, “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
And Elisha prayed, “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.”
2 Kings 6:13-17
The story stays amazing.
The enemy advances and Elisha prays for the enemy army to be struck blind.
Elisha then leads the whole blind army straight into the hands and land of the Israel king, who inquires of Elisha, “What now? Do we kill them?”
Elisha says, “Feed them. Then send them home.”
The whole entire army of enemies armed to destroy?
They feed the army and then send them away.
The story ends with this:
“So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.”
2 Kings 6:23
*What happens in this great big world is never outside God’s awareness.
*His support and activity may require spiritual eyes to see.
*Faith and belief and relationship with Him clarify our vision.
*Those that are with us are MORE than those that are with them, whether I recognize it or not.
One very important clarification…
‘Us’ and ‘them’ are words that awaken wise caution in such a polarizing world.
So let’s lean into that caution for a bit.
In this particular passage I read ‘us’ as God’s chosen ones (Elisha and his servant specifically) and ‘them’ as God’s not-chosen nation (Aram). This us /them terminology is woven all throughout the stories we find in Old Testament history.
The nation of Israel (God’s chosen) was set apart in many dramatic ways.
And while I learn so much from Old Testament stories I also rejoice that we don’t live in the times of 2 Kings anymore.
Our definitive Word (John 1).
“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
This choosing, this Nation that we are in Christ was established while we were all still really messed up.
“You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Some kind of weird Nation, isn’t it?
While we were still outrageously wicked—Christ died for us.
All of us.
We are ALL chosen now.
Blundering mistake-makers most graciously included into the ‘us’ of God through Jesus as fulfillment (not abolishment) of the Old Testament way. (Matt 5:17)
Whatever enemy surrounds you and stirs.
(remembering gingerly, with grace, that because of Jesus every ‘they’ is loved so much too)
We just have to remember it.
Anchor to it.
No one is forgotten.
God is near.
He is acting on behalf of His Beloved.
(before we even know that we are so loved!)
He delights in us.
He is good.
Open our eyes, LORD!
Let us see how you are with us!
Let us advance into the day ahead—
Adored and Unafraid.
“He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the LORD was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.”