In 2 Kings 6:16-17, the prophet Elisha says, “Don’t be afraid…those who are with us are more than those who are with them” and prays that the Lord may “open his eyes so that he may see.” This in the midst of battle between the Arameans and Israelites, where the servant of the man of God feared the army he saw of horses and chariots surrounding them. Elisha’s prayer was answered and the servant’s eyes were opened and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. In its context, we can see the Lord revealing to us that our fear of being overcome by whatever is ailing us is futile and gives us insight as to the majesty of God in spiritual warfare. This account tells us that what our eyes can see isn’t what is fully present, something that we most often forget.
Our fears are telling of our lack of faith. Because we don’t fully comprehend what we cannot see before us, we can cave. God hasn’t given all of us, all of the time, the eyes to see what is taking place in the spiritual realm around our finite and tangible world; but when He does give us glimpses, it is often met with more fear, of another kind. Imagine being able to see all that is going on around us in the way of the spirit world. That awareness is guarded by God, in grace, I believe, because it’d terrify us and perhaps even consume our focus. But in instances like the recounting of Elisha’s prayer to open the servant’s eyes, it’s meant to bring us courage.
Again in Exodus, we read of a similar account, where Moses is telling the Israelites, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the Lord will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” (14:13-14). Although this battle doesn’t reveal God’s army visually as the Elisha account did, it nonetheless lends us a peek into Who is for us (Romans 8:31). A necessary reminder in the daily toil of our lives that there is always something going on around us, whether we see it or not. Even in our restful periods, where we’re not crying out to God for help as we do during battles, He is with us.
We can become numb to the reality that there is a spiritual realm all around us and, at times, that can be a detriment. Envision for a moment how that servant must have felt when his eyes were opened and saw that God’s vast army was surrounding them as they prepared for battle. Astounding. We face battles everyday and, if we’re diligent to remember that God has our environment engulfed with His angels, we’re all the more prepared to face them. Whatever those battles are, whether they take place in a hospital setting as you or a loved one are fighting for healing, or in a workplace where you’re struggling with where you can stand amongst your secular community, or even in your home as you strive to live a family life honoring to God, but are constantly confronted with the stubborn angst that rides on your shoulders when dealing with your own sin and the sin of those you love, recall this story of Elisha and the servant. He is with us in our battles. We can’t see Him and His army of horses and chariots of fire, but they are with us as we fight.
What we see is not what we get; what we can’t see is. That is yet another blessing of the faith described in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” We want to be shown before we believe something to be true, but this is backwards thinking, because it is when we believe first, that is when we’ll be shown. We can’t yet see the promises of God fulfilled, but for a Christian, seeing is not necessarily believing.