This may be my shortest blog post ever, but I wanted to share a little gem of a story with you, which came from chapel yesterday. Mark Oldenburg, our dean of the chapel and worship [and sometimes preaching] professor, was our preacher for our Wednesday Eucharist service. I’ve mentioned him before in my blog because he is simply one of the finest preachers I’ve ever heard, hands down. Anyway, in the course of his sermon, he referenced a biblical story I had totally forgotten even existed [And here let me just own up to the fact that I realize I should be way more embarrassed about how much I still don’t know about the Bible, but who has the time?!]. The story is from 2 Kings 6, and here’s the situation: the king of Aram has surrounded the city of Dothan with an army by night, and he is preparing to attack and kill Elisha in the morning. Verses 15-17 then read:
“When an attendant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. His servant said, ‘Alas, master! What shall we do?’ [Elisha] replied, ‘Do not be afraid, for there are more with us than there are with them.’ Then Elisa prayed: ‘O LORD, please open his eyes that he may see.’ So the LORD opened the eyes of the servant, and he saw; the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”
The point was, of course, that God is always with us, in ways we don’t always see; and even when we feel surrounded and overwhelmed, God is there at work in our midst.
I was greatly encouraged by that word, and that promise. Sometimes I feel very alone–surrounded, outnumbered and out of options. And this image of God’s presence–metaphorically expressed in a fiery army of blazing light–and the sure knowledge that God is always there, standing with and for me, with an army of strength and love, gives me such good courage and hope.
I imagine some of you feel like that sometimes, too, so I wanted to share this story with you—and I hope it encourages you also.