"When an attendant of the man of God rose early in the morning and went out, an army with horses and chariots was all around the city. His servant said, “Alas, master! What shall we do?” He replied, “Do not be afraid, for there are more with us than there are with them.” Then Elisha prayed: “O Lord, please open his eyes that he may see.” So the Lord opened the eyes of the servant, and he saw; the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha."
(2 Kings 6:15-17)
THE VISION OF PROPHETS
When we think of prophets, we often think about their hearing and their speaking. Prophets are tuned in to the voice of God. Then they speak what they hear - to the leader, to the people... to whomever God commands them to speak. The little portion of scripture quoted above has to do with a time when the Aramean army came to a city called Dothan to seize Elisha. In this little interaction, we are reminded that prophets also have excellent vision. When Elisha’s servant woke up early in the morning, he saw the Aramean army all around the city. But he didn’t see what Elisha saw. Elisha saw the “horses and chariots of fire” that belonged to the Lord. Elisha prayed that the Lord would open his servant’s eyes, and then the servant was able to see what Elisha saw.
Yes, true prophets tend to SEE the presence of God - much more clearly that the rest of us do. The prophets see the presence of God because they are looking for it. You and I, with practice, can improve our vision.
When someone walks away from a car crash or a plane crash, and there is no rational explanation - God has been present.
When a friend or relative goes back to the doctor, and the tumor is no longer there, and no one knows why... God has been present.
When someone forgives someone who has caused him/her great harm, God has been present.
When you step out in faith in following a dream, or in taking a new job, or in moving to a new place, or in paying for a class or a training when it doesn’t seem like you have the money to do so - and almost everyone around you thinks you are crazy - and things start unfolding for the good in a way that you cannot explain... God has been present.
When the oppressed, the weak, or the marginalized somehow triumph over incredible odds, and perhaps even help transform their oppressors (continue reading 2 Kings 6:18-23), God has been present.
Prophets see these kinds of things. When you and I are not paying attention, or have our blinders on, we miss them.
Lord, open our eyes! Help us to see your loving, saving presence in the world. And may we be transformed by what we see. Amen.