Before the Passover Festival, Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.” John 31:1
Some of you might remember Paul Harvey. He was a radio commentator for many years and was particularly famous for his “rest of the story” stories. He would tell a somewhat familiar tale and then add a surprise ending to it and conclude with, “And now you know the rest of the story.”
You might remember an Old Testament story about Elisha. Elisha and his servant were surrounded by the bad guys and from the servant’s perspective, it wasn’t going to end well. Elisha asked God to open the servant’s eyes so he could see what was going on. God did and the servant saw that the hills were surrounded with heavenly warriors and chariots of fire. Things got better…quick.
So, the bad guys came down upon the city and Elisha prayed that God would smite them with blindness and boom–He did. It sounds almost comical, but Elisha basically tells them, “You guys are lost…let me lead you to where you need to be.” He leads them smack dab into the middle of Samaria…the Israelites’ stronghold. And that’s where the rest of the story gets amazing.
Elisha then prays for the bad guys’ eyes to be opened and just like that—they were. They took one look around and realized they were in very deep weeds. The Israelite king saw an opportunity and said to Elisha, “Can I kill them, can I kill them?” I love this. Elisha said, “No, you can’t kill them…that’s not what you do to people who surrender. What you can do is give them something to eat and drink and let them go.” I’m sure the king’s jaw hit the ground. The “let’s kill them” plan sure sounded better.
Well, he fed them and let them go. Guess what? We’ll let the Bible tell the end of the story. In 2 Kings 6:23 we read, “So the king prepared a great feast for them, and after they had finished eating and drinking, he sent them away, and they returned to their master. Then the bands from Aram stopped raiding Israel’s territory.” Did you get that? The bad guys weren’t the bad guys anymore. A little kindness changed the whole story. How about that?
If the king had killed them, there would have been revenge. They would have attacked and then the king would have attacked and on and on it would have gone. But instead, a simple act of kindness broke the domino effect. Instead of war there was relief–and peace. In days when sides are still being chosen and tempers still flare—when hate and division are the new headlines and bylines—when no one trusts anyone—we Christ followers can and should be different. We should be givers more than takers. We should be lovers and not haters. We should be like Jesus.
The Bibles says in John 13:1 “Before the Passover Festival, Jesus knew that His hour had come to depart from this world to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world, He loved them to the end.” Those “ones” He loved–included the guy who would betray Him to the crucifiers. It included the one who would deny that he even knew Him. How amazing is that? We can’t really do much about how people act, but we can do a lot about how we respond to them. If the dominos are going to be interrupted, it will have to be us. The chain reaction is broken when we act like the One who chose not to retaliate but rather to redeem—to restore.
Some days it seems that a too short fuse has been lit and there is not time or hope to stop the future devastation. Let me challenge us today—during these crazy days that are getting crazier by the minute—to do the crazy thing and love, serve and care for others. Let me challenge us to be like Jesus.
How can we do that? Well, first, as Jesus followers we are God’s kids and that is what He expects us to do. Jesus said we should be peacemakers—whether it is on the street, in the church, or at home. Second—we can trust Him. We can rest in Him because we know the end of the story—and it ends well—and no circumstance, no ploy of Hell can change that. Third—remember, He’s got this—He really does. Whether it is a resurgence of the virus or another revolting piece of news. God is good, God is faithful, and God can be trusted. Sounds like a no brainer to me. Bro. Dewayne