Keep Our Eyes on Jesus to Make Sense of the World
If we spend our time staring at all of the problems of the world we will never see Jesus. We will be unable to as all of our attention is on the bad. 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. We may 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 should never be so taken up by the temporary we miss the joy of the eternal.
Open our Eyes to See God all Around Us
Elisha is a prophet of God from the Old Testament. He is a great man of faith. Yet, 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 it. He warns Israel after God revealed the ambush. The Syrian King responds by sending his army to kill Elisha in the city of Dothan. The Bible says that the King sent a great army to surround the city by night so that they could destroy 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 evil plan. So he compensates by sending his army by night to surround the city. It appears the King believes 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.
Fear Prevents Us from Seeing God
Elisha is accompanied by a servant in Dothan. That servant gets up early in the 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
Walking by Faith is Filled with Peace
Elisha is not troubled. He understands the logical failures of the Syrian King. Since Elisha is a man of God moved by God to opposed the Syrian King, God will protect him. God is not be surprised by a night march or a giant army. God will take care of Elisha, his servant and the people of Dothan despite what the situation looks like on human terms. God will destroy the plans of those who oppose Him. Elisha simply needs to keep his eyes on the Lord and watch Him work. It is this simple logic that guides the faithful servants of God throughout the Bible. Where God guides, God provides.
The servant does not have Elisha’s faith. This lack of faith causes him to fall into despair. God is not part of his equation so things just look hopeless. 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. God’s view on the situation changes everything.
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.
God’s Perspective Changes Everything
God’s army was there the whole time. The servant simply could not see it. 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.
Are we in the shoes of the servant? Do we feel surrounded by our enemies with no hope of escape? Are we overwhelmed by the evil in this life and fear that it will pull us down?
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. We are also not born as trusting servants of God. Even when we are all born again, we all need to learn to serve God. For more, read Learning to Serve God and What does it Mean to be Born Again?
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.