Then he said, “Take the arrows,” and the king took them. Elisha told him, “Strike the ground.” He struck it three times and stopped. The man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated Aram…completely” 2 Kings 13:18-19
I can be pretty persistent. Or so I’ve been told. Jeff wanted me to be an attorney because he was convinced that I could persuade any judge, jury or courtroom to “see the light” (read let me have my way) simply by wearing them down with my “persistence” (read arguing my point with someone until they think their ears are bleeding.) Those are his words. I know, right? He can be so dramatic.
In 1999, we had been on the list to be able to purchase a home in Coweta through the Creek Nation Housing program for about six years when I read the story in Luke 18 about the widow and the unjust judge. I realize now the story is about persistence in prayer and about continually asking our King and Judge for justice, which really means making the wrong things right. Justice for a sick body is healing. Justice for addiction is freedom. Justice for lost souls headed for eternity separated from God is salvation. Jesus was telling us to keep asking, keep barging into His Courtroom and pleading for justice—for ourselves, our loved ones and our nation.
At the time I believed my revelation meant that we would surely get our new home if I kept calling and occasionally dropping by the housing authority office to “check on the status of our application.” I left some very kind messages, sent cards and even baked brownies for them (only once because I didn’t want them to think I was crazy.) Crazy or not, my plan worked! I often pictured the woman on the other end of my then daily phone calls turning around after hanging up and saying, “Can someone PLEASE give this woman the keys to that house?!?!” Ok maybe Jeff was right.
In 2 Kings 13, Elisha was angry because the king was half-hearted in his obedience and quit after only striking the ground three times. Aram means “highness; one that deceives; curse” and I want to point out that the same message to that king is true for us today. Is there a curse of cancer or alcoholism or poverty that has attacked your family or people group? “I prayed,” you say, “and nothing happened.” They are still in the hospital bed, still in prison, still in bondage, still homeless, still poor, still under the influence of deception. Can I tell you something? Pick up your arrows!
God spoke this word to us awhile back concerning prayer for Native Americans. There have been many short term mission trips to reservations, outreaches to boarding schools, and they are good works to be sure. But if we do not continue to cry out to God for justice, we will be like the king who Elisha told to “strike the ground.” We will have small victories here and there, a lost soul saved, a decision to enter drug and alcohol rehab, a decision to choose life. I don’t take that lightly and those victories are definitely cause for celebration, but what if we could defeat these enemies COMPLETELY? What if your family could be completely out of debt? What if your son or daughter could be completely delivered from drugs and alcohol? What if your marriage could be completely restored? What if our nation could be completely redeemed?
There must be a continual “striking the ground” in order for us to see complete victory. That is why I am asking God to raise up night and day prayer on every reservation and for every native tribe. Jesus told of the widow’s persistence in that story so that we might “always pray and never give up.” He promises that our heavenly Father, the Righteous Judge, WILL give justice to those “who cry out to Him day and night.” His next question in Luke 18, though, is one that pierces my heart.
But will I find that kind of faith when I return? Will I find anyone who is still praying and crying out for justice, still believing in My unfailing love and mercy?” I imagine Him looking off in the distance, wondering to Himself….”Will there still be someone going to prayer at midnight to fight for the girls kidnapped for human trafficking? Will there still be someone asking for the hand of violence to be stopped from domestic violence or child abuse? Will I have a Bride who cares?”
As it turns out, Jeff was right. I DID become an attorney of sorts, and so can you. The “arrows” we strike the ground with are our gifts and we petition the Judge through prayer and faith. I strike the ground when I type on this keyboard or play the piano or teach a class. I strike the ground when I cry out for justice in prayer. Next month we plan to strike the ground again for Pine Ridge. What are your arrows? What is the cause God has commissioned you for? It’s time to strike the ground again.