Friday, January 3, 2014


As Elijah threw down the challenge to “the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah” (I Kings 18:19b, NLT), he knew he was on the winning side. In support of this fact, I referenced Second Kings 6:15-17 where the prophet Elisha and his servant were surrounded by the Aramean army.

The servant was terrified, but Elisha assured him they had nothing to fear because “there are more on our side than on theirs!” (II Kings 6:16b).

“Then Elisha prayed, ‘O Lord, open his eyes and let him see!’ The Lord opened the young man’s eyes, and when he looked up, he saw that the hillside around Elisha was filled with horses and chariots of fire” (II Kings 6:17).

Some years ago my fellow seminarian Bonnie and I were in China teaching a group of Chinese pastors. The two of us and our translator had gone to great lengths to make certain we weren’t followed to the apartment where we would be teaching. The group of 60 or more pastors who packed the tiny apartment had been secreted in one at a time all day long to prevent anyone from becoming suspicious of the gathering. Finally, at dark, we arrived and began to teach.

The windows were covered with thick cardboard so no one could see inside. One person remained by a doorway peephole to serve as lookout. Suddenly, she called out and turned to us, her face terror-stricken. The panic quickly spread and the translator explained that a number of military vehicles had arrived at the massive apartment complex and the soldiers were now going door-to-door asking about the non-Orientals someone had reported seeing.

I am a certified, card-carrying, lily-livered chicken. If my friend Bonnie were with me now, she’d say, “Ditto for me.” But when we realized what was happening, instead of fear, an inexplicable peace came over both of us. I told the translator to calm down and translate for me and I told the story of Elisha and his servant and how God had miraculously protected them from harm. And then I said, “That same army is protecting us right now.”

The room became completely quiet. Then one voice began to sing in Chinese, “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound…” Within a minute everyone in the room was singing, including me and Bonnie. The more we sang, the louder we got. We were convinced of God’s protection over us.

I can’t say that I believed God was going to keep those men from breaking down our door and arresting us. What I was sure of was that God was with us whatever He allowed. When our hymn came to a close, no one had pounded on our door. I am totally convinced that, however the Lord chose to do it, those men were as blind to seeing our doorway as the Aramean army was when the Lord blinded them in answer to Elisha’s prayer – see Second Kings 6:18.

We serve a mighty God. Nothing is impossible for Him. And nothing within His will for you is impossible for you to accomplish.

I was an unwilling participant in that mission trip to China. When I was asked to go, I didn’t even hesitate to say “No!” But a precious lady asked me to pray before I made my final decision. I did, and the Lord put a host of things in front of me that left me no doubt that the right answer had to be “Yes!”

That trip changed my life because it put me in a position that allowed God to work in ways I might otherwise have never experienced. I saw His power in ways I had never even imagined. Yes, I knew those things happened in the Bible and maybe even to other people in my lifetime. But to me? Uh-uh. I never would have dreamed it.

If there’s a tugging at your heart to do something you’ve never done before in service to the Lord, pray; seek godly counsel. And once you’re sure it’s the Lord doing the calling, don’t tell Him “No!” Give Him a resounding “Yes!” Your life will be enriched in ways you could never imagine.

Copyright © 2013
Judy Woodward Bates

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