2 Corinthians 4:8-9: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

A flowering shrub named “Lantana”, very popular in desert climates, also grows in our backyard. Once a year we cut her down to the bare bones. All that is left are leafless twigs, quite a depressing sight for any gardener. But wait – if you come back in a week or so, then voilà: tiny new leaves show up on the sticks. I guess this could count as an example for: “struck down, but not destroyed.”

Praying to God will give us a different outlook. God will bless us with a vision when life resembles bare and leafless twigs. Opening our eyes, He lets us see the signs of spring in the middle of a long and dreary winter. We come across wintry situations everywhere in the Bible, probably because life’s dark seasons, as much as we hate them, happen to everybody; God encourages us to look up to Him in those situations, just as He encouraged Prophet Elisha and his servant.

In the second book of Kings we read about Prophet Elisha befriending King Joram who ruled Israel for 10 years, between 850-840 BC.  During his reign war broke out between Aram-Damascus and Israel. Regardless which way Aram-Damascus’s army turned, Israel seemed to anticipate every move and the battle stalled. The enemy camp investigated the matter and soon found out that thanks to Prophet Elisha their battle plans had been revealed to Israel’s king on several occasions. Once the enemy got wind of the situation, they threatened to kill Elisha. So, under night cover an army of soldiers closed in on Dothan, Elisha’s hometown, and in the morning Dothan was militarily surrounded with no way out. Terrified, Elisha’s servant addressed the situation with his master. Following is an excerpt of their conversation (2 King 6:15-17):

‘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.”

It is all a matter of perspective – of course there is no perspective at all when we are blind to the things that are actually working for us. In the end, we all need the Lord to remove our blinders, just as He did for Prophet Elisha’s servant.

God can take care of you and me in life’s bleak situations. When we are in the dark and can’t see the light, we need to pray to the Light of the World, Jesus. He will open our eyes and we will see the proverbial rose hidden beneath the deepest snows. To see that rose we must believe.

“Beneath the deepest snows,
The secret of a rose
Is merely that it knows
You must believe in Spring!” 

(Alan and Marilyn Bergman, Jacques Demy, Michel Legrand)