Posted by: Kara Luker | January 11, 2011

Those fiery chariots

When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.”

Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. 2 Kings 6:15-17

Yesterday, I said that these beautiful moments of connection and friendship I’ve been experiencing are true life. They are and I’m enjoying them immensely. But part of my appreciation comes from all the raw, grinding, grueling moments that God used to get me to this place, with an open heart and a new way of seeing.

It was in the hard, confusing, painful times when my own understanding just wouldn’t cut it – when I ran out of resources and ability and strength, when I couldn’t see through the darkness and required his vision – that I began to learn of the pure and perfect character of God. What a sweet taste it leaves when something cruel and hateful produces beauty and love. This is the way of the Lord.

I know so many people going through hard times right now, wrestling down their own perceptions and reaching for truth that will sustain them… often through tears, grief, anguish. I can’t walk out your journey and you can’t walk out mine, but we can sure encourage each other along the way. In light of that, I would like to share this excerpt my dad gave me. It’s from book from back in the day (no clue which day) called Secret of a Happy Life by Hannah Whitall Smith:

The Chariots of God

It has been well said that “earthly cares are a heavenly discipline;” but they are even something better than discipline – they are God’s chariots, sent to take the soul to its high places of triumph.

They do not look like chariots. They look instead like enemies, sufferings, trials, defeats, misunderstandings, disappointments, unkindesses. They look like Juggernaut cars of misery and wretchedness, which are only waiting to roll over us and crush us into the earth. But could we see them as they really are, we should recognize them as chariots of triumph in which we may ride to those very heights of victory for which our souls have been longing and praying. The Juggernaut car is the visible thing; the chariot of God is the invisible. The King of Syria came up against the man of God with horses and chariots that could be seen by none save the eye of faith. The servant of the Prophet could only see the outward and visible; and he cried, as so many have done since, “Alas my Master! How shall we do?” But the Prophet himself sat calmly within his house without fear, because his eyes were opened to see the invisible; and all he asked for his servant was, “Lord, I pray thee open his eyes that he may see.”

This is the prayer we need to pray for ourselves and for one another, “Lord, open our eyes that we may see;” for the world all around us, as well as around the Prophet, is full of God’s horses and chariots, waiting to carry us to places of glorious victory. And when our eyes are thus opened, we shall see in all the events of life, whether great or small, whether joyful or sad, a “chariot” for our souls.

Everything that comes to us becomes a chariot the moment we treat it as such; and on the other hand, even the smallest trials may be a Juggernaut car to crush us into misery or despair if we so consider them. It lies with each of us to choose which they shall be. It all depends, not upon what these events are, but upon how we take them. If we lie down under them and let them roll over us and crush us, they become Juggernaut cars, but if we climb up into them, as into a car of victory, and make them carry us triumphantly onward and upward, they become the chariots of God.

Whenever we mount into God’s chariots the same thing happens to us spiritually that happened to Elijah. We shall have a translation. Not into the heavens above us, as Elijah did, but into the heaven within us; and this, after all, is almost a grander translation than his. We shall be carried away from the low, earthly, groveling plane of life, where everything hurts and everything is unhappy, up into the “heavenly places in Christ Jesus,” where we can ride in triumph over all below.

These “heavenly places” are interior, not exterior; and the road that leads to them is interior also. But the chariot that carries the soul over this road is generally some outward loss or trail or disappointment; some chastening that does not indeed see for the present to be joyous, but grievous; but that nevertheless afterward “yeildeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness to them that are exercise thereby.”

In the Canticles we are told of “chariots paved with love.” We cannot always see the love-lining to our own particular chariot. It often looks very unlovely. It may be a cross-grained relative or friend; it may be the result of human malice or cruelty or neglect; but every chariot sent by God must necessarily be paved with love, since God is love; and God’s love is the sweetest, softest, tenderest thing to rest one’s self upon that was ever found by any soul anywhere. It is His love, indeed, that sends the chariot.

Look upon your chastenings then, no matter how grievous they may be for the present, as God’s chariots sent to carry your souls into the “high places” of spiritual achievement and uplifting, and you will find that they are, after all, “paved with love.”

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