Have you ever experienced a situation where things weren’t going the way you were expecting? You truly believed in your heart that things would be different?
My devotions the last couple days have been too good not to share! You can read the entire passage word-for-word here (2 Kings 5-7), but I’ll highlight two stories within that really struck me (and I’ve been thinking about ever since!).
The passage starts out with a commander of the Aram army who was a respected, mighty warrior but suffered from the skin disease of leprosy. He was basically given a ‘letter of recommendation’ from the king of Aram and told to go see the prophet Elisha in Israel to be healed. So, the commander went to Elisha’s house and waited at the door. But, instead of seeing him in person, Elisha sent a messenger out to tell the army commander to go wash himself seven times in the Jordan River and then his skin would be restored and he would be fully healed of the disease.
What happened next? The commander of the army became ANGRY!!! He stalked away, offended that the prophet hadn’t met with him. He sulked, “I expected him to wave his hand over the leprosy and call on the name of the Lord his God to save me!”and left in a rage (2 Kings 5:11-12).
Thankfully, his officers reasoned with him and encouraged him to obey. So, he followed the instructions and was healed! The army commander went back and thanked the prophet, proclaiming there was no God in all the world except in Israel (2 Kings 5:15).
In my margins, I wrote “God heals us in different ways than what we might expect.” It was a new thought to me – a new perspective. You see, I expect that I pray and God quickly answers with a divine intervention OR a medical treatment. But sometimes, I need to step back and realize that God’s ways are different than ours, God’s thoughts are higher than ours, and God’s plans are BETTER than ours.
We can be angry, hurt and sullen with our expectations or we can be quick to submit and walk in obedience to God’s truth. We truly can trust that He is working things out in His way and in His timing.
This brings me to this morning’s reading, where this same prophet Elisha was being hunted by the Aramean army (later the king had ordered his execution – even though he had helped his army commander). Elisha’s servant woke up in the morning and saw “troops, horses and chariots everywhere!” (2 Kings 6:15). He was distraught and cried out, “Ah, my lord, what will we do now!?!?!”
Let me pause here and say if you have ever been in a desperate situation with seemingly no way out, then you know how this distress can feel. This man was afraid for his life, and they were surrounded by troops with literally no where to turn… nowhere but UP, that is.
Elisha responded, “Don’t be afraid! For there are more on our side than on theirs!“ Then he prayed and asked God to open the eyes of his servant. “The Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire” (2 Kings 6:17).
If you continue to read, you’ll find out that not only was Elisha not harmed, all the soldiers went home safely (and with a new perspective of who God is, I’m assuming!) through God’s holy plan.
My point is that sometimes we can’t see what is happening in the spiritual realm. My prayer today was that God would open my eyes. May we not be overwhelmed and consumed by what we see but rather focus on the eternal, the important, the help that comes from above, and mostly the Helper.
Whatever you’re praying for today – know that God doesn’t work according to our plans and expectations… He does things absolutely BETTER! And while we may not physically see it, we can trust and know that He’s got it covered. Submit to His plan and pray today, asking for His help and for His vision. May He change our perspective!