In 2 Kings 6 we read the story of the prophet Elisha and his servant surrounded by the Syrian army. The army has been sent to capture Elisha who’s viewed as a spy working for the King of Israel. Elisha’s servant has gone out early one morning into the streets of Dothan and is faced by this gathering army outside the city. He expresses his despair to Elisha, ‘Alas, my master! What shall we do?’ v16. Elisha’s answer is one of reassurance in God’s providence, ‘Do not be afraid, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them’ v16
With the odds stacked against them, Elisha trusts in the Lord’s providence. The Puritan writers often referred to God’s providence as a, ‘Soft pillow for anxious hearts’ Maybe you’ve got such a pillow, perhaps one of those memory foam ones that is just perfect for you to have a good nights sleep! I left mine behind recently at a hotel and miss my old favourite pillow.
The point the Puritans were making is this. Our faith in God’s providence working in our life as believers brings peace and comfort when our hearts are anxious.
As we enter a new church year, we may have many anxious thoughts and fears. In our ministry, area of service to the church, we’re uncertain and anxious about the future. Yet we’re encouraged as we look back to see that we have not been at the mercy of blind forces or chance but that God has provided for all we have needed. We may not have always understood God’s timing or his reasons for our trials and tests but we begin to see more clearly how God’s providence has aligned the events in our lives for our good, and His glory and purpose.
Elisha’s servant did receive the reassurance he needed as in answer to Elisha’s prayer he saw, ‘Horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha’ v17 May God in His grace give us a fresh insight and understanding of God’s hand at work in our lives and in the life of our congregation as we enter this new church year.
Yes, we make plans but realizing they are subject to God’s sovereign will and purpose. ‘The heart of a man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps’ – Proverbs 16v9. May the Lord establish our steps in this coming year.