“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 6:16-17
As followers of Jesus Christ, we are reminded that we are to walk by faith, not by sight. (2 Corinthians 5:7). In both the Old and the New Testament, God presents many miracles to His people to strengthen their “sight” e.g. believe, and thus help them to walk by faith. Here in the 21st century, surely we all could use some of those “seeing moments.” I know I could…for the past several days I have been very spiritually burdened. I am restless, weepy, and sleepless. Many things weigh me down – I worry about my kids, am concerned about a friend’s marriage, stressed about the godlessness of our nation and frankly exhausted by the shrillness in this “age of anger.” I pray for my loved ones, pray for those unloved, and for those whom I don’t even know. I awake nearly every morning and before I am finished with my cup of coffee, I learn of something in this world that has occurred that breaks my heart, and often my spirit. “Where are you in this Lord?” is a frequent thought for me.
This morning he reminded me of a sermon I heard years ago. The pastor who shared it, (whom I will call Terry), has been walking with the Lord for at least 30 years. He is a former NFL team chaplain, an international missionary and he leads a large inter-denominational men’s bible study. He is also a spiritual mentor to a major SEC college football team. I tell you this not to compliment him, but to give you an idea of how seasoned he is in his own walk. But yet, in the sermon he shared he too get’s very weary. At the time, Terry was in a season of doubt – a dear young man, whom I will call John, was dying from an aggressive form of brain cancer. Terry had coached and spiritually mentored John and was integral in John coming to know Jesus personally. It was now Terry who questioned, “Where are you in this Lord?”
He was called to John’s bedside hours before his passing to say farewell. On his way there, he could barely drive but for the tears filling his own eyes – Terry called out to God, “Where are you? How is this fair? Oh God, help me – if you are real, show me, as I really need a second touch from you.”
When he arrived at the hospital John and his dear wife were waiting for his pastor friend. He could barely speak because of the tumor in his brain but with great effort he pulled himself up from his pillow and drew his friend close to his mouth. “It’s real, it’s all real…” he said into Terry’s ear.
Pastor Terry didn’t understand, “What’s real?” he asked. “Are you telling me you have seen something, seen the other side?” The young man dropped back to his bed nodded and smiled with tears in his own eyes. His young wife nodded too and sighed with peace. John was not afraid to die, as God had opened his spiritual eyes and showed him what was to come. He passed away only a few days from that meeting.
Pastor Terry got his “second touch” that evening. God showed both him and the young man and his wife that He is very present. The Lord didn’t cure John of his cancer, but he strengthened the hearts and banished the fear of all those who were in pain in the midst of the illness.
So in that let me explain why I have chosen to include the passage above from 2 Kings 6:16-17. Last night because I could not sleep I turned to a book on tape written by Billy Graham in hopes that it would lull me to rest. I finally did sleep for a while but awoke to the reading of this passage. It is a story when Elisha and his servant are surrounded by the King of Aram’s soldiers and chariots. They are looking to take him captive. The odds were not in Elisha’s favor. But Elisha knew something his servant and the soldiers did not. That though the enemies seemed numerous, God’s army of angels was very present, even larger and in the business of protecting them.
In both of the instances above, one present, one in the past – God showed up – and gave a second touch, His touch into the hearts, minds and EYES of the fragile humans who struggled to see Him.
We are to walk by faith and not by sight – yes but truly, if we would only use our eyes and yes hearts to look for God in the midst of our troubles, we will find him.
I do not believe in coincidences, but I do know that God can use anything to remind us that whether we are walking through the valleys and the shadows of death or when we are surrounded by seemingly insurmountable adversity, we need only to pray and believe that He will open our eyes and allow us to “see” what He knows is already there. Him.
I needed a second touch last night – so God awoke me to hear that passage. He reminded me of the sermon I heard years ago. God is ever-present in our lives and it us up to us to remember this. When we do, walking by faith isn’t nearly as hard to do, even if our human sight fails, we are to remember that greater is He who is inside us, than he who is in the world. (1 John 4:4-5).
Thank you Lord for hearing my heart last night. Thank you for “opening my eyes” and reminding me that even when I cannot “see” you that you are there. Thank you that I can trust that though you may not always cure the disease or calm the nations, you are in our midst and will give us the “second touch” of your hand when we need it. Amen and Amen.