There is an amazing exchange between two friends tucked into the book of II Kings. Elisha, the prophet and his ministering servant find themselves in a “whale of hurt.” Israel’s enemy, the Arameans have snuck up and surrounded their home town of Dothan. Ben-hadad’s force intended to kill Elisha and the entire community.
In the morning, the servant went outside to gather water and light the fire for breakfast. And suddenly he saw the overwhelming number of horses and chariots ringing around their town. He rushed to Elisha’s side and shouted out his fear: “Oh, my lord, what shall we do?”
Let’s stop the story for a moment and agree that many of us have been in situations where a friend or co-worker has sought out counsel in the midst of a very tough spot. In their fear and frustration, they likely shouted out a similar question, a question formed around their panic.
And how did we respond? I will speak for myself and reveal that all too often, I have responded with a quick word of scripture or even a Christian platitude. In my hurry to “counsel” someone, I have answered in haste.
But look at the example Elisha gives us (II Kings 6:16-17). His response has three parts to it. He starts by recognizing the intense fear that his friend has and he encourages him by reminding him “Do not be afraid.” He doesn’t ignore the intensity of the moment, he enters into it.
And then Elisha offers the servant some Godly advice right out of the scriptures. He assures him that, “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” After his patient encouragement, Elisha shares some Biblical facts with his friend.
And finally, he stops and prays a simple prayer for the servant, “Lord open his eyes so he may see.” When God did so, the servant saw the multitude of angels also surrounding the town. The hills were full of horses and chariots of fire, an incredible symbol of God’s power.
I love this story and I love the example that is given for you and I . So, this week, if a friend seeks some help or counsel, slow down and take some time to care for your friend. Address their need. Take time to encourage them. Then share a scripture or thought out of God’s Word. And don’t forget to pray. Pray simply and with heart.
And watch what happens as God lifts their burden. “Greater is He that is with us, than He that is in the World” (I John 4:4).