hard doesn’t mean wrong

Just because it’s harder than you could have imagined and taking longer than you thought you could wait doesn’t mean you’re off course. Trust the still, small voice. Trust the small moments of confirmation. Don’t give too much credence to the circumstances. Those can change in a moment and are probably not as dire as they seem.

2 Kings 6

Now the king of Aram was at war with Israel. After conferring with his officers, he said, “I will set up my camp in such and such a place.”

The man of God sent word to the king of Israel: “Beware of passing that place, because the Arameans are going down there.” 10 So the king of Israel checked on the place indicated by the man of God. Time and again Elisha warned the king, so that he was on his guard in such places.

11 This enraged the king of Aram. He summoned his officers and demanded of them, “Tell me! Which of us is on the side of the king of Israel?”

12 “None of us, my lord the king,” said one of his officers, “but Elisha, the prophet who is in Israel, tells the king of Israel the very words you speak in your bedroom.”

13 “Go, find out where he is,” the king ordered, “so I can send men and capture him.” The report came back: “He is in Dothan.” 14 Then he sent horses and chariots and a strong force there. They went by night and surrounded the city.

15 When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”

17 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.

18 As the enemy came down toward him, Elisha prayed to the Lord, “Strike this army with blindness.” So he struck them with blindness, as Elisha had asked.

19 Elisha told them, “This is not the road and this is not the city. Follow me, and I will lead you to the man you are looking for.” And he led them to Samaria.

20 After they entered the city, Elisha said, “Lord, open the eyes of these men so they can see.” Then the Lord opened their eyes and they looked, and there they were, inside Samaria.

21 When the king of Israel saw them, he asked Elisha, “Shall I kill them, my father? Shall I kill them?”

22 “Do not kill them,” he answered. “Would you kill those you have captured with your own sword or bow? Set food and water before them so that they may eat and drink and then go back to their master.” 23 So he prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. So the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.

Jesus said pray but we’d rather work

“The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.” (Matt. 9.37) Whenever you hear that (at least in the evangelical circles I’ve always been exposed to), get ready for an action plan. Churches are driven by the fierce urgency of now to do something. Outreach. Missions. Faith-based initiatives. Busyness. Get to it. Get it done. But these are not the responses Jesus called for. He went on to say, “Pray to the Lord of the harvest to send workers.” We go wrong when Jesus calls us to pray and we decide to do something else instead. We go wrong when we think prayer is the prelude to the actual work. Prayer is a main part of the actual work. That is to say, prayer isn’t just the thing we do at the beginning or end of events as a signal that things are starting or finishing. Prayer should characterize all the things we do. When we approach our activities as outward expressions of prayer, we tend to treat them more thoughtfully and with more sacredness. We also come at them more humbly, with less ownership, more willing to ask for the help we need.