“And Elisha prayed, and said, LORD, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the LORD opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.” (2 Kings 6:17 AV) It is amazing how the preceding verse is so relevant to the times in which we live. Even its context is relevant. The preacher had it right, while amplifying the cyclical nature of human existence he stated: “Whatever has happened— that’s what will happen again; whatever has occurred— that’s what will occur again. There’s nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9 CEB) No matter how hard the trails of life may be, before allowing Satan to send us plunging into the depths of self-pity and resentment, may we all be reminded that whatever one presently may be challenged by, someone has experienced it in a previous time—indeed, someone else may be grappling with a similar trial right now. Although we are unique in terms of our individuality, we may not be as unique as we might be led to believe, in terms of the path we trod in life.
The story of the prophet and his servant at Dothan is a case in point of how limited vision can mire even a child of God in a place of perpetual depression and despondency. The prophet Elisha, as we may already know, was targeted for simply having been used of God as an instrument to spare the armies of Israel violence at the hands of the Syrians. The prophetic insight that God had given his manservant thwarted every effort of Israel’s enemy to ensnare Israeli troops, thereby causing the king of Syria to single him, i.e., Elisha, out for destruction. It is under these circumstances that the prophet’s servant awakens early in the morning to find himself and the man of God surrounded by hostile forces who had come to wreak havoc upon them. How frustrated must the prophet’s understudy have been to find that the two of them were under attack after only having striven to do God’s will. Surely the Lord would have protected them, he undoubtedly thought, in that they had been about doing God’s will, even according protection to the king of Israel via the prophetic office.
The COVID-19 crisis has the potential to create a mindset similar to that of the prophet’s servant—especially for those who also serve the Lord. Something unasked for and unexpected has transformed the world, seemingly overnight, and simultaneously impacted the church. Elisha and his servant were victimized by world events and, if guilty of anything, had done nothing but serve the Lord. It is in times like these, indeed, that we need God to expand the scope of our vision and sit on our emotions in order that the adversary not overwhelm us. May we pray today for divine enlightenment to the fact that all is not lost because of the covering of the Lord. Go forth. God is yet with you.
Yours in His Service,
Bishop Lambert W. Gates, Sr.