God we need help down here, where are you?
This is a thought or a statement that many of us make when the times are tough and it seems like things are against us and we wonder where God is. Listen to someone else who thought this.
“Ah my master, what will we do now?” he cried out to Elisha. “Don’t be afraid!” Elisha told him. “For there are more on our side than on theirs!” Then Elisha prayed, “O, Lord open his eyes and let him see!” The Lord opened his 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 6:15b-17)
The situation in the text is that the King of Aram wanted to arrest Elisha because it seemed that Elisha had a direct pipeline into the King’s mind. And so every time the King planned to invade Israel, Elisha knew of the plans and warned the king of Israel. So Aram could not defeat and capture Israel. Finally it was determined that Elisha, the prophet of God, was providing the information and the King of Aram went to arrest Elisha. The King’s troops surrounded where Elisha and his servant were staying. When the servant awoke in the morning and looked out, he saw troops everywhere. And while he addressed his question to his master Elisha, he was also questioning God. Where are you God? We are in deep trouble down here.
Elisha was able, through prayer and God’s grace, to have his servant see the angelic forces that God had assembled to protect and save Elisha and all of Israel. What this text helps us to learn is that God and his angels are with us much more than we ever think or believe. The problem is that we don’t have eyes to see them or ears to hear them, but that does not mean that they are not there.
I experienced that in my own ministry, not having eyes to see. As a student at the Seminary, I was sent to help out for a couple of weeks at an old downtown congregation in St. Louis. This congregation was a dual congregation with an English speaking and a Vietnamese group and there was a separate service for each group. As the local pastor and I were preparing for the English speaking service, I looked out and there were maybe 20 people in church that sat over 300. I said to the pastor, where are all the people? He told me to look harder. Still I saw only 20. He again said to look harder, look with eyes that remember this church has been here and people have worshipped here every Sunday for over 160 years. As we went through the service, my eyesight improved as God worked on my spirit and eyes, and I saw that the church was packed to standing room only. The thousands of people who had worshipped there came to mind and te angels who watched over them still came to hear God’s word, spoken, sung and proclaimed. They came to worship a great God who is always with them.
When we feel alone, when we wonder where God is and why he isn’t here with us, we need to pray for better eyesight and better hearing. Not better eyesight and hearing in our earthly life, rather for better eyesight and hearing in the eternal life we have in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. Then you too might be allowed sight like Elisha’s servant and see and hear the presence of God and his angels around and with you in all of your days.
O most gracious God, how often we only see and hear what is before us. How often we doubt or question, are you with us or where you are. Help change our unseeing and our unhearing of your voice and continue your presence in our daily lives. Help us to grow ever stronger in our faith and dependence on Jesus, your son our Lord, who provides everything we need for daily life. O Lord, hear our prayer. Amen.