“Oh, my lord, what shall we do?” Elisha’s servant asked.
The king of Aram (present-day Syria) was at war with ancient Israel and had sent an entire army to the city of Dothan to capture the prophet Elisha. They came by night, so when Elisha’s servant woke and went out early in the morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city.
“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet said. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “O Lord, open his eyes so 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. (These events are recorded in the Bible, 2 Kings 6:8–17. Read the rest of the chapter to find the amazing outcome!)
In this story, the angelic army was already there, but Elisha’s servant was afraid because he hadn’t yet seen them. Why must we always see in order to believe? We have the Bible promise, “[God] shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.”1 Is it not enough to believe because God’s Word says so?
Seeing is the reward of believing, not the other way around.
Why does it have to be this way? Why does God sometimes hide things from us? Why do we need to take everything by faith? The answer lies in that last word—”faith.” It wouldn’t be faith if we could see. Jesus said to Thomas, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”2
This principle of faith is something on which God places a great deal of importance. It’s also something that He gives us credit for,3 because it is a sign of our love and trust in Him, that we believe Him and His spiritual power and the principles He lays out for us in His Word.
We walk life’s hot, hard, dusty roads battle-weary and scarred, but we arrive in heaven triumphant. The angels blow their trumpets to herald our victory. We held on and didn’t sink when the storms of life rocked our ships. Satan attacked us on every side. He threw his worst at us, but we survived. We held on. We did our best. We believed! We won the war of faith. Henceforth is laid up for us a crown of righteousness.4
The story of Elisha and his servant reminds me that several years ago when I was very ill, recovering from a bout with cancer, Jesus told me that He had given me an “angel of comfort” to be with me during those difficult times. This gave me such a blessed feeling of peace, like a soft, warm aura that enveloped me. In spite of the pain, I found my heart filled with wonder and thankfulness for that special touch from heaven.
The Bible tells us that we are “surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses.”5 On that glorious day, I will want to meet my angel of comfort and thank them face to face.
Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.—Philippians 4:6–7
Our lives are full of supposes. Suppose this should happen, or suppose that should happen; what could we do; how could we bear it? But, if we are living in the high tower of the dwelling place of God, all these supposes will drop out of our lives. We shall be quiet from the fear of evil, for no threatenings of evil can penetrate into the high tower of God.—Hannah Whitall Smith (1832–1911)
When you truly trust God, you can have peace in the midst of storm and calm in the eye of the hurricane. Like the story of an art contest in which the artists were asked to illustrate peace. Most of the contestants handed in paintings of quiet, calm scenes of the countryside—absolute tranquility. That’s a form of peace. But the hardest kind of peace to have was illustrated in the picture that won the award. It depicted the roaring, raging, foaming rapids of a storm-swollen waterfall, and on a little tree branch overhanging the torrent was a nest where a tiny bird sat peacefully singing in spite of the raging river. That’s when your faith gets tested, in the midst of turmoil.
1. Psalm 91:11
2. John 20:29
3. See Hebrews 11:6.
4. See 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 4:7–8.
5. Hebrews 12:1