“Now when the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were on their way from Gilgal. Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Stay here; for the Lord has sent me as far as Bethel.’ But Elisha said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So they went down to Bethel. The company of prophets[a] who were in Bethel came out to Elisha, and said to him, ‘Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I know; keep silent.’ “ (2 Kings 2:1-3)
It is hard to lose a mentor, companion and friend. I have known such losses, and have been a mentor to others, and so know what if feels like to let go of a mentee. It is not easy for other side of the relationship.
“Elijah said to him, ‘Elisha, stay here; for the Lord has sent me to Jericho.’ But he said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So they came to Jericho. The company of prophets who were at Jericho drew near to Elisha, and said to him, ‘Do you know that today the Lord will take your master away from you?’ And he answered, ‘Yes, I know; be silent.’ “ (Verses 4-5)
On the last day that Elijah was on earth, the Lord was sending him all over the place. And Elisha, not wanting to say good-bye, went with Elijah to all the places that the Lord had called him to. And at each place there was the reminder that the Lord would be taking up Elijah. Elisha did not want to here that. It is never good news when someone near and dear to you is going to be leaving, no matter the reason.
“Then Elijah said to him, ‘Stay here; for the Lord has sent me to the Jordan.’ But he said, ‘As the Lord lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So the two of them went on. Fifty men of the company of prophets also went, and stood at some distance from them, as they both were standing by the Jordan. Then Elijah took his mantle and rolled it up, and struck the water; the water was parted to the one side and to the other, until the two of them crossed on dry ground.” (Verses 6-8)
Elisha knew what type of man Elijah was – a man of God and imbued with abilities from God. Elisha had seen and heard proof of this over and over again. It was already established that after Elijah was taken up by the Lord that Elisha would carry on with the Lord’s ministry as Elijah. So there was not only the bittersweet parting, but the knowledge that Elisha was Elijah’s “heir.” Elisha did not hesitate at this, but was preparing himself for it.
“When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Tell me what I may do for you, before I am taken from you.’ Elisha said, ‘Please let me inherit a double share of your spirit.’ He responded, ‘You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it will be granted you; if not, it will not.’ As they continued walking and talking, a chariot of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them, and Elijah ascended in a whirlwind into heaven. Elisha kept watching and crying out, ‘Father, father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!’ But when he could no longer see him, he grasped his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.” (Verses 9-12)
Things change. People change. Issues and circumstances change. Sometimes they change and become easier. More often they change and became harder. We always hope that change will be good, but we must prepare if the changes are for the worse. But always, always, we are never alone when things change.
May you beloved reader accept and prepare for change in your lives, and in the lives of others. May the Lord watch over you during all the changes in your life, and may the way you handle change be a blessing to others. Selah!