Events in this world are scary. We can’t seem to get through a week lately without something downright terrifying happening. Whether it be weather disasters, social battles, wars or horrible crimes, the endless news cycle makes sure that we have something dreadful pumped into our living room every minute of the day.
It is so easy to get tunnel vision and see just the bad things. It is possible to just fix our eyes on these events and evil people and despair. It is tempting to be swept away in the current of fear and anxiety that goes along with the tumult of a society that is in the process of rejecting God. It is easy to think that we are surrounded by great evil and are about to be overcome.
This is exactly where Satan wants us to be. He wants us so focused on the world and its struggle that we cannot see Jesus and His peace. The scope of our vision can be so taken up by fear of the temporary we miss the joy of the eternal.
Elisha is a prophet of God from the Old Testament. He is a great man of faith and at one point in 2 Kings 6, he is caught in the middle of a battle between Syria and Israel. The King of Syria made plans to ambush the Israelite Army and Elisha spoils them by warning Israel after God revealed the ambush. The Syrian King responds by sending his army to kill Elisha in the city of Dothan where he was staying. The Bible says that the King sent a great army to surround the city by night so that they could kill Elisha. When the people of Dothan wake up in the morning, they find themselves surrounded on all sides by a powerful evil army intent on destroying their homes.
As an aside, check out the logic of the King of Syria. He knows that Elisha is a prophet and that God gave away his battle plans to Elisha. God Himself foiled his prior evil plan. So he compensates by sending his army by night to surround the city. This time he would fool God by turning out the lights. As if the all-knowing God can be fooled by darkness. It is amazing to what lengths people will go to avoid submission to God.
Elisha is accompanied by a servant in Dothan. That servant gets up early one morning to find their city surrounded by the Syrians. This is a huge deal in human terms. It is a powerful enemy army sent to kill the servant, his master and anyone else in the city without mercy. It is like waking up in the morning and finding ISIS has surrounded our city and there is no help coming. In human terms, things are seriously bleak.
This terrifying sight causes the servant to focus solely on the enemy and forget who he serves. His eyes are filled with chariots, swords and thousands of enemy soldiers. His mind is filled with fear, despair, and hopelessness. The eternal is nowhere to be seen for him, just the very scary temporary.
And his servant said to him, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?” 2 Kings 6:15
Elisha is not troubled. He understands the logical failures of the Syrian King. If Elisha is a man of God moved by God then God will not be surprised by a night march. God will take care of Elisha, his servant and the people of Dothan. God will destroy the plans of those who oppose Him. Elisha simply needs to keep his eyes on the Lord and watch Him work.
In an act of kindness to the servant, Elisha prays that the servant could see what Elisha could see, God’s perspective on the situation.
So he answered, “Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, and said, “Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw. And behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.
He was too caught up in staring at the enemy in fear.
His fear and despair blocked his faith. He forgets God takes care of His people, no matter the odds or appearances.
Do we have our eyes squarely fixed on the church shooters, terrorists or political warriors seeking to destroy us? It is understandable – no one claims that the Syrian Army was not terrible and was not scary. It is just that they are no match for our God.
If we are focusing on the enemy rather than the eternal, stop and pray that God opens our eyes to the true battle landscape. The Lord’s Army is in the field and we are not about to be defeated. It is not possible. Jesus has already won. It is that simple to see when we are looking for it.