Still Confident

2 Kings 2:13-14 “He (Elisha) picked up the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan. Then he took the cloak that had fallen from him and struck the water with it. ‘Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah?’ he asked. When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over.”

Did Elisha get what he needed for the work that lay ahead of him: the spirit of Elijah, the presence of God to give power to his words and ministry?

Elisha didn’t hear some inner voice telling him that everything was going to be okay. He didn’t feel a sudden surge of electricity running through his body, filling him with confidence. In spite of the demonstration of God’s power he had just seen, he wasn’t overwhelmed by an experience of the Lord’s presence. In fact, for a few moments, experience seemed to tell him that God was absent. His heart cries out to God, “Where now is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” For a few moments, Elisha felt uncertain.

But Elisha had a promise: “If you see me when I am taken from you, it (the double portion of Elijah’s spirit) will be yours.” And in spite of any uncertainties, Elisha acted on that promise. Then God confirmed that he was with Elisha in an unmistakable way. “When he struck the water, it divided to the right and to the left, and he crossed over.”

God works the same way with us. At times our personal experience may suggest that God is absent. We don’t feel waves of spiritual energy washing over our bodies, assuring us he is here. But God is more than a feeling. He may inspire some wonderful feelings in us at times, but he doesn’t disappear just because we feel as though he is gone.

What, then, do we have for our times of uncertainty? Like Elisha, we have God’s promises. Feelings change, but God’s promises do not.  And God promises us, “Surely I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I with them.” “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” We can confess with David in the psalms, “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

Since God is for us, God is with us, and God even lives in us by his Spirit, we can be sure that Christ will continue to do his work through us in spite of our uncertainties.

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