“Elijah took his cloak, rolled it up, and hit the water with it. The river divided and the two men walked through on dry land. When they reached the other side, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘What can I do for you before I’m taken from you? Ask anything.’ Elisha said, ‘Your life repeated in my life. I want to be a holy man just like you.’ ‘That’s a hard one!’ said Elijah. ‘But if you’re watching when I’m taken from you, you’ll get what you’ve asked for. But only if you’re watching.’ And so it happened. They were walking along and talking. Suddenly a chariot and horses of fire came between them and Elijah went up in a whirlwind to heaven. Elisha saw it all and shouted, ‘My father, my father! You—the chariot and cavalry of Israel!’ When he could no longer see anything, he grabbed his robe and ripped it to pieces. Then he picked up Elijah’s cloak that had fallen from him, returned to the shore of the Jordan, and stood there. He took Elijah’s cloak—all that was left of Elijah!—and hit the river with it, saying, ‘Now where is the God of Elijah? Where is he?’ When he struck the water, the river divided and Elisha walked through.” 2 Kings 2:8-14 (MSG)
When you are born, you are completely dependent on your parents. You can’t do anything without their help. As you grow up, you become more and more independent. Along the way, there are points where you have to apply the lessons that they taught you even when you are facing situations alone. Then, there comes a point when they are no longer there to guide you in the decisions that you make. In those moments, we have to learn to turn our eyes toward God instead of people.
Elisha had walked with Elijah for years. He had seen the many miracles that God worked through Elijah. As Elijah approached the end of his life, Elisha was not willing to let Elijah out of his sight. Elisha wanted the spirit of Elijah to be with him. As Elijah was taken away, Elisha was left with his cloak that had fallen to the ground. At that moment, Elisha had to decide what he was going to do. Were all the miracles that God had worked through Elijah solely because of the person? Or, was God’s power available to work through his life too? The true test of his faith came at the brink of the Jordan River. Up to that point, Elisha had seen God’s power and crossed the Jordan on dry land. But, Elijah had always been with him. It would seem that Elijah was the common denominator for God to move. But Elisha was about to experience something profound: God was the common denominator, not a person. Elisha had yet to experience God working in this way. At the point of facing an obstacle alone, one the size of the Jordan River, he was no longer searching for Elijah. It wasn’t the person who was going to come through for him; it was God. He went from seeing God move as a result of someone else’s faith to simply experiencing God. As his ministry continued, the moment when the Jordan River divided was probably a hallmark moment in his memory. No matter what he was up against, it wasn’t about him; it wasn’t about Elijah. It was all about God. In our own lives, we have to come to terms with our own faith. Many times, we want someone else’s prayers or faith to get ahold of God for us. It can be easier to hold on to people instead of running to God. For God to move in your life, it is not contigent on your mentor, parent, or friend to pray on your behalf. Although those moments can be beneficial, there comes a point when you will stand at the Jordan River alone. What will you do? Will you try to go from one prayer group after another? Or, when you face the moment at the Jordan River all alone, will you turn your eyes and heart heavenward? Will you allow all the things that you have heard about God and learned in Sunday School to be put to the test? The Jordan River moments are tests. When we allow God’s power to work through us, we can recognize that it is not about us. It is solely about Him. And, when we see the test as an opportunity for God to work, then we have the privilege of being the conduit through which God can work.
Scripture taken from THE MESSAGE. Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002. Used by permission of NavPress Publishing Group.