The young man stirred in his bed. He thought he heard something out the window.
Fully awake now, he flung open the door and went outside. The morning sun was beginning to glisten over the mountains.
There was an impatient rustling.
The young man looked up and was struck with fear at what he saw. Across the horizon were horses and soldiers and chariots. They were everywhere.
The city of Dothan was surrounded.
There was no escape.
When the youth ran back into the house, the old prophet was already up.
“Oh sir,” he cried, “what will we do now?”
The old man grasped the younger one by the shoulders and looked into his frightened eyes.
“Don’t be afraid,” Elisha calmly told him. “That’s quite an army out there. But listen to what I’m telling you son.”
Elisha smiled at his young servant. “There are more on our side than on theirs!” (II Kings 6: 15-16).
The servant was puzzled. What was the prophet saying? The young man didn’t see anyone else.
That’s because there wasn’t anyone else. Just the two of them – and an advancing army.
Elisha was a military informant. He had been warning the King of Israel about the plans of its enemy, the Arameans. No sooner had the king of Aram conferred with his generals than Elisha would report it to Israel. How Elisha knew, it doesn’t say. But he was, after all, a “man of God.”
Aram’s king ordered a search party to find Elisha and capture him.
And now they had the old man – and the whole city – surrounded.
This was the stark reality of a very desperate situation.
Elisha prayed but not for himself. He prayed for the panic-stricken young man who trembled in fear before him.
“Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see.” (II Kings 6:17, KJV).
And God opened the eyes of the young man. And “when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire.” (vs. 17, NLT).
What that must have been like.
For a few dazzling moments this young man gazed upon the unseen glory and flaming power of the Lord God almighty. He was given a rare blessing. The eternal God pulled back for him the curtain of human reality to reveal a far greater reality. And this servant of the man of God caught a glimpse of the wonder and majesty of the One who rules the universe.
He saw beyond sight. He was lifted above the limitations of mere earthly vision to the realms of heavenly vistas. And he knew that there was a grander and more glorious world than this one.
In an instant, an earthbound youth was transported to the limitless beauty of divine omnipotence.
He had to believe. He had no choice. He saw with eyes opened by God himself.
We face the stark reality of our desperate situations – whether they are cultural, political, global or personal – and we often feel surrounded by an army. We are overwhelmed by what we see.
Our prayer must be Elisha’s. He prayed for his servant. We must pray for ourselves.
“O dear Lord, open our eyes, that we may see!”
We are not likely to be shown the reality of God’s power in the same way as this young man was. Thomas threw down the gauntlet of doubt before the feet of his risen Lord. It was a direct challenge. Unless Thomas could see and feel the wounds of Christ he would not believe he had risen.
When he saw, Thomas believed. And Jesus commended him. But Jesus reserved his highest commendation for the rest of us: “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29, KJV).
We accept the earthbound definition that “seeing is believing” but we too easily forget the far greater spiritual reality that believing is seeing.
A heavenly army of horses and chariots of fire stand watch over us and over this world. They fill the cosmic hillside. The great spiritual activity beyond our senses is no less real for being invisible to our eyes.
In fact the unseen is the supreme reality.
It is not mere mortal machinations that will determine the eternal destiny of this fallen world – or our immortal souls. The great spiritual conflict that ends with the triumph of King Jesus takes place beyond our sight and sound. Beyond the debates of congress and parliament.
We are part of this struggle, surrounded by it and enlisted in it but we do not see it.
And if any one of us could see heaven for as long as that young man saw those chariots of fire, we’d rush to take the next train out of this world. We wouldn’t want to remain here a moment longer for the beauty of eternity.
To see through the eyes of faith is to see purely and truly – to see realistically. For the Christian that must always be so.
Faith is defined as “the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 11:1).
Paul tells us to focus on the unseen things for they are eternal.
Lord, open our eyes, that we may see.
May God bless you and your family.