2 Kings 2 this morning--on the road with Elisha and Elijah, just before Elijah ascended to heaven.
Something important and fitting strikes me today...today of all days, considering tomorrow's date.
Elisha somehow knew at Bethel, at Jericho, at the Jordan that Elijah was going to be taken that day, and it took him those several stops to prepare himself. "As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you," he told Elijah. And he was allowed to stay with his spiritual father/ prophetic master. He keeps pressing to walk on, to keep walking, to continue the journey for just one more stop. See, once in a great while we get a warning about the transitions in life, a time of preparation that we need, even when we don't really want to face the loss. I had a warning like Elisha's once--on the drive out to the farm the week Dad was lying in the hospital in Pullman. It broke my heart and prepared me all at once...
I just went and found what I wrote in my journal about the experience...
August 23, 1997
"I drove out to the farm Wednesday night and screamed aloud at God, "Please don't let my Daddy die!" and suddenly there in the car with me, right in my shrieking tears, was God. "I know exactly how you feel," I heard, as if He'd spoken out-loud, in the quiet, though I didn't feel quiet at all. And then I was, quiet, that is, because He was there and reminding me that He knows what it is to lose to death someone beloved, to be unable to stop that death from coming. I was frozen, though I was speeding through the night, and then the scream rose again in my throat, because I am sure now, sure of all that He is saying. Not only that He understands, though that comforts, but that Dad will die of this. It's what I dare not say, but I know it, and hate knowing it as I sit here in this hospital room next to my living, breathing, teasing Dad. Please, Lord, please tell me something different. Not this, please, anything but this. Just a little longer...Rationally I know there will never be enough time, that I will always ask for a little longer, but emotionally I still ask for it.
And yet, here I understand, finally. Gethsemane. Praying in the garden. Knowing what lies ahead. "Please take this cup from me, take this cup from Dad." And yet, side-by-side with that bleeding, sweating, depths pf my soul-plea, I whisper in the dark of this room, where he sleeps, so close I can put my hand on his arm. Oh, I don't want to say it, but I must. The core of obedience. "Not my will, but yours...be done."