This week, Alan Donaldson (General Secretary of the European Baptist Federation) explored the passage 2 Kings 2:1-18. In the midst of a long and hopeless history filled with bad kings and idol worship, the people of God endured a miserable time. However, amidst the darkness, two figures stood out – Elijah and Elisha. They shone as a light for the people of God.
As the 50 sceptical prophets accompanied them, they repeatedly asked Elisha about this. The light was going to become half. This was a miserable, hopeless situation, but Elisha’s faith couldn’t have been stronger.
His unwavering faith desired to witness more of God’s work, seeing a glorious opportunity at the river Jordan.
The pivotal moment arrived at the river Jordan, where Elijah ascended to heaven. Elisha, ripping his own clothes and taking Elijah’s fallen cloak, stood naked and vulnerable on the bank as the 50 sceptical prophets watched him. This vulnerability testified to his steadfast faith. In contrast to the fear of failure, he cried out, “Where now is the God of Elijah?” Rolling up the garment, he struck the water, defying onlookers’ expectations. The waters parted, and Elisha walked over, victorious in his vulnerability.
To step into the promises of God, individuals and churches must embrace vulnerability. It requires doing things beyond one’s strength, bringing nothing to the table except one’s vulnerable self.
The call is to be humble, vulnerable, foolish and empty, yet ultimately victorious as God shows up.
In the current state where many Western churches are ageing and declining, the challenge is to break free from the scepticism of the 50 prophets and believe in God’s transformative power, as Elisha did. There has never been a moment of greater opportunity for churches across Europe than today – migrant populations provide glorious opportunities eg 200 new Baptist Ukrainian churches have been planted inside and outside the country since the start of the war. Here in Belfast we are called to make a difference. Do we believe God can transform lives in our neighbourhood? Will we leave the company of 50 and join Elisha?
- In a world where situations may seem hopeless, God presents glorious opportunities.
- The call resounds: take a step of faith, leave behind doubt, rip off the cloak of scepticism, and stand vulnerable at the edge of the flowing river.
- Like Elisha, anticipate the divine intervention that occurs when we dare to believe in God’s transformative power.