By David Bass
In 2 Kings 6:8-23, a mighty army from Aram has surrounded the city of Dothan, where the prophet Elisha and his servant are staying. Elisha has been foiling the plans of the king of Aram, and the army has been sent to capture him. Twice in this passage does Elisha pray a prayer that has come to be meaningful for me in this season of life and ministry: “Lord, open their eyes.”
The first time, he prays it for his servant. The servant wakes up, sees the army surrounding them, and is afraid. But Elisha prays to God, “Lord, open the servant’s eyes so that he may see.” The servant can now perceive that there is a heavenly army surrounding them. He can also perceive a new spiritual reality: God had this situation under control the whole time. Even as the army of the enemy gathered in the night, so was God putting in place the pieces for a plan of salvation.
The second time Elisha prays this prayer, it’s for the army. Elisha asked God to confuse the army, and then the prophet leads them to Samaria, the capital of Israel. Once everybody’s inside the city, Elisha prays, “Lord, open their eyes, so that they can see.” Again, the army can physically see that they have unintentionally ended up in their enemy’s capital. But they can also perceive a new spiritual reality. They trusted in their weapons, horses, and chariots, but Elisha’s God was stronger than those things they placed their trust in.
I am like the servant in this passage. Sometimes, when my problems seem to overwhelm me, I reach for worry instead of faith. I think of the border run we had to do to reset our Cambodian visas at the beginning of the pandemic. It seems like everything went wrong, but God provided every time. I think of ministry opportunities that God called us to, such as teaching a seminar entirely in the Cambodian language for seasoned pastors. I didn’t feel up to the task, but God provided. I think of all the losses we have all experienced due to the pandemic. Our hearts ache, but God is still faithful.
Even on these dark days, God has been working to bring about redemption from pain and fear. If only God would open my eyes to the way that God is working. If only I could see that, as the armies of the enemy surround me in the night, so is God putting in place the pieces for a plan of salvation.
I am also like the army in this passage. Sometimes I trust in worldly power more than God’s power. I trust in my intellect, my resources, and my own decision-making abilities. Once I get a little bit of “success” in ministry, I am tempted to think that I can do it all in my own power. I need God to open my eyes to the ways that I need to rely on God’s power every day, even when I think I’ve got it all under control.
In this season, I have found great power in this short prayer: Lord, open my eyes. I have needed it when I felt defeated, and I have needed it when I felt strong. I especially needed it when I didn’t know what else to pray for. May God open all of our eyes in this season to the plan of salvation that is already unfolding all around us.
David and Laura Bass are Cooperative Baptist Fellowship field personnel who has been living and serving in Phnom Penh, Cambodia since 2015. You can support their ministry here. They also invite you to subscribe to their newsletter to follow along with their journey and keep them in your prayers.