Tuesday, June 10, 2008


June 10, 2008

“The young man exclaimed, ‘Oh master, what shall we do?’

He answered, ‘Don’t worry about it. There are more on our side than on their side.”

-- 2 Kings 6:16

In the above passage, the servant is terrified because their camp seemed to be surrounded by an overwhelming enemy. However, Elisha, the “man of God”, was completely calm in the face of this seemingly devastating threat, and his response to the servant explains why. Elisha understood a fundamental truth that I have a hard time remembering in stressful times. He knew that, no matter how much power the material threat appeared to have, he – and all of us – have way more power inside us. On “their side” – the side of material perils – there is seeming strength, but on “our side” – the side of mental (or spiritual) force – there is infinitely more strength. To Elisha, it was as clear as a problem of logic or math. Any material threat is limited. It always has a beginning and an end, a top and bottom, and boundary lines beyond which it is not effective. It’s measurable, and therefore will eventually wear down and come to its end. On the other hand, the spiritual resources which all of us always have “on our side” for immediate use are totally unlimited. Qualities like courage and kindness are not measurable, and therefore have no beginning nor end, no boundary lines beyond which they falter, diminish, and disappear. Does patience have an outer frontier, beyond which it cannot exist – or does it go on forever and ever, as long as we believe in its power? Does courage eventually get used up, like the gas in a car – or does it last for days, months, and years, provided we have faith in its power? Can any limited, finite, material threat defeat a spiritual power like acceptance – or does acceptance overpower and conquer any and all threats, on the condition that we allow it to work its magic? Elisha knew the answer to these questions, and he prayed that his servant would have “his eyes opened” so that he, too, could see the happy truth of their situation.

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