Fear, Faith, and Peace

Jim Mead

READ : 2 Kings 6:8-23

“Do not be afraid, for there are more with us than there are with them.” (v. 16)

I remember a “Family Circus” cartoon in which the children misunderstand their parents’ prohibition on watching a violent TV show. The older sister says, “We can’t watch this next program because of the violins.” Children aren’t the only ones who misunderstand. Violence breeds misunderstanding . . . and fear.

This miracle story places a servant’s fear at the heart of the passage. It’s a fear borne of misunderstanding, a “blindness” where he cannot see the angelic host protecting the prophet. As his eyes are opened, the enemies’ eyes are struck with a physical blindness. But like the captain of the Lord’s host (Joshua 5:14), Elisha is not so much against Aram and for Israel as he is against violence and for peace. That radical behavior requires faith of everyone in the story: the servant, the soldiers, and the king. When they all trust God’s Word delivered through Elisha, peace is achieved.

We, too, live in a time of fear, a time which calls for prayerful and faithful understanding. As people who follow the Prince of Peace, our question can never be, “What can I do to hurt my enemy?” With Elisha – and Jesus – let us dare to risk blessing our enemies with deeds of love and mercy.

PRAYER

O Christ, Prince of Peace, make us channels of your blessing in a violent world.