Our verse for today comes from 2 Kings 2:12, ” And Elisha saw it, and he cried out, ‘My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and its horsemen!’ So he saw him no more. And he took hold of his own clothes and tore them into two pieces.
Bitter sweet. Simply putting these two words with each other can open the door to an onslaught of memories and emotions. Are the most meaningful, impactful, and powerful moments in our lives invariably bittersweet? Is every encounter that stays with us, that makes our heart race or our soul ache, given its lasting effects by the noxious combination of bitterness and sweetness? Maybe not. There are memories that are pure and simple joy, filled with happiness and peace. And there are the opposite, painful memories that leave behind nothing but hurt and despair. But perhaps the times I am describing are the ones that resemble these joyous or miserable ones, except they bring with them the graces of God that change our lives. Maybe the bittersweet nature of pain and pleasure, of loss and growth, is where the soul operates. The sweetness survives and the bitterness lasts all because your life has been changed and God has expressed Himself.
For Elisha, his final moments with his predecessor, Elijah, brought with them a chariot-full of honey and bitter herbs. He knew he was to become God’s next prophet, and so he asked Elijah for a double portion of his spirit.
The best Elijah could do, not being certain about God’s plan regarding this, was to say that Elisha would receive this blessing if he was able to see Elijah as he was taken to heaven. And therein lies the bitterness. Elijah was leaving, and Elisha could barely stand it. He had clung to his side all day, hushing the people who kept reminding him of Elijah’s impending departure. So when the chariots appear, it is a glorious, mighty sign that God was working, that Elijah’s work was done, and that Elisha’s turn had arrived, complete with the double portion of Elijah’s spirit. But Elijah was leaving. And then, Elisha is left with his God. So he asks where He is.
And God parts the Jordan River for him, setting him on his path of service and devotion to the Lord. The bitterness came, but the sweetness did, too. And it does for us, too, if we’ll look to see where God is for us.
As we seek Him today, ask God to bring His sweetness into the bitterness that clouds your memories. Let Him change you and the way you live and remember your life.
Also published on : Medium.com.