Don’t Get Excited Just Because a Prayer Isn’t Answered Immediately; Praise God If It Is!

He took the cloak that had fallen from Elijah 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. – 2 Kings 2:14

Elisha followed the prophet Elijah from town to town, all the way across the Jordan River. Along the way, Elijah kept telling Elisha to stay at each town to which they came, but the younger refused to leave the elder. At each town, a group of prophets approached Elisha and asked him if he knew that the LORD would take Elijah away from him, to which he replied in the affirmative. Finally, when they reached their ultimate destination, the elder asked the younger what he could do for him. Elisha replied that he wanted a double portion of Elijah’s spirit to rest upon him after he was gone. Elijah said that if Elisha witnessed his departure, then his request would happen. Elijah was taken away in a fiery chariot drawn by fiery horses into the heavens. As he sped away, his cloak fell to the ground, and Elisha retrieved it. When Elisha returned to the Jordan River to go back the way he’d come, he struck the water as Elijah had done. He then asked where the LORD was in anticipation of seeing the water part a second time, so he could cross over on dry ground as before. He watched the river part, and he crossed on dry ground.

When I read this passage, I hear the prophet questioning where the LORD is, but it’s not really a doubt or lack of faith. Elisha had witnessed his mentor do some radical things (miracles) along their journey. Just witnessing the very departure of Elijah would have been a terrific moment! Can you imagine travelling with a close companion, who is then carried out of sight into the heavens aboard a fiery chariot drawn by fiery horses?!? I don’t believe for a second that Elisha questioned the presence or the power of his God, Jehovah. He expressed his faith by grabbing the cloak of his mentor, striking the water as his mentor did, and returning home by the way he came. He may for a split second have wondered why the water didn’t immediately part, but it did! His faith was reassured and cemented by this miracle. (An interesting note is that Elijah’s last miracle was the same as Elisha’s first!)

I will not lie. There have been times when I have asked where the LORD is. I’ve had my moments where I prayed for something, and it didn’t happen just when and how I thought it should. Such a thing can unnerve some people or at least rock them spiritually a bit. Let me also state that the LORD does and will answer prayer. He may not answer them immediately, as he did for these two prophets of old, but he does nonetheless. For this reason, Jesus the Messiah taught us to pray in this manner, “Ask, and keep on asking. Seek, and keep on seeking. Knock, and keep on knocking. For the one who asks will receive. The one who seeks will find. To the one who knocks, it will be opened.” We can’t give up hope or stop praying. Keep the faith. Continue to P.U.S.H. – Pray Until Something Happens! Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you don’t have enough faith simply because there was no immediate answer to prayer. The LORD himself taught us otherwise! Therefore, don’t get all bent out of shape if this happens. Be patient, and remember the words of the LORD to David, “Be still, and know that I am God.”

Most gracious, loyal, loving, and righteous Father, may you be praised above all! Your majesty is indescribable! Thank you for building up my faith and encouraging me to continue on even when things don’t go exactly as I expect. You taught us to pray with persistence and to do so boldy before the throne of grace. You moved mightily in the lives of the prophets and apostles, and you still do so today. You are the same forever and don’t change. So why would you not continue to perform them and be the God of miracles? You wouldn’t! Help me to be an encourager to those who struggle with not seeing your hand move in their lives immediately. I used to be one of them; I know. There are those moments when I have an occasional flare-up, but you relieve the situation sooner or later. I have nothing to fear, and there is no reason for me to doubt your faithfulness. You told Moses that you are the faithful God. You’re true to your word, which never comes back void or not having accomplished its mission. Thus, I put my whole trust in you, the waymaker! May your will be done, not mine. In Jesus’ name, Amen.