The King of Aram was frustrated that a prophet was able to reveal Aram’s battle plans to their enemy Israel. The King did not know that God would reveal Aram’s plan to Elisha and Elisha would pass on the intelligence to the King of Israel.
As a countermeasure, Aram besieged the city of Dothan in an attempt to apprehend Elisha. You can read the story by turning to 2 Kings 6:8-23.
Imagine that you live in a small town and wake up one morning to see a line of tanks and soldiers surrounding your town. They are not there to keep bad guys out. The natural conclusion is that something bad is about to happen to your town.
Elisha’s servant responded exactly like you or I might have responded. When he saw the army around the city, he asked Elisha, “Alas, my master! What shall we do?”
Elisha, is not dismayed by the army, however. Because of his relationship with God, Elisha was in touch with a higher reality of which his servant was unaware.
I so want to be like Elisha and confident that God is fully in control and calm under pressure. But honesty dictates that I admit to myself and others that I am more like Elisha’s servant who experienced some measure of panic at the first sign of trouble.
My problem does not lie in my circumstances. It is fair to say that my difficulties have been rather small as compared to what many people have had to endure. My problem does not lie in my personality, nor in my abilities. My problem lies in my lack of belief in the faithfulness of God.
Hebrews 11:1 tells me that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” When I panic (not the best choice of word, but no better comes to mind), it is because the things I see make it difficult to act with conviction about the unseen things.
It would be so empowering to look out the window of my house and see an army of angels surrounding it. My problem is not that I doubt that they could be there, but I doubt that God cares enough about me to send them. I do this because I have ingested a lie. That lie is that God does not really care about me as an individual. Sure, I know I am saved by grace, but it is too easy to believe that I only received that grace as a member of humanity, not as an individual that God wants to be in relationship with.
But then I look at Jesus. I read about how he interacted with the emotionally broken, the morally compromised, the physically deficient and the volitionally misguided. He interacted with them as though he cared, not as abstract pieces of humanity but as individual creations of his loving father. I see Jesus liken his father to an old man who waits by the roadside for the return of his rogue son. I see Jesus weeping at the tomb of a friend. I see Jesus offering himself so that the veil separating us from God could be torn.
When I look at Jesus, it less difficult to envision of an army of angels surrounding a city. When I look at Jesus, it is less difficult to think that God really cares for me as an individual. When I look at Jesus, the unseen reality begins to make itself almost tangible.