“And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived and stood up on his feet.” (2 King 13:21)
To paraphrase Yogi Berra, “It’ ain’t over till it’s over”…and sometimes it ain’t over then!
Elisha was dead. In fact, his body had already decayed to the point that the only thing left was his bones. His home-going to Heaven may not have been as spectacular as Elijah’s (2 Kings 2:11), but even Elijah couldn’t claim the kind of stunning phenomenon we read about in this verse.
All Israel assumed Elisha’s ministry was over. But they were wrong. And when Elisha took his last breath, I’m sure he thought his life’s work had come to a close. But it hadn’t. Mark it down, plain and tall: Only God decides when our work is done. And it may be long after we ourselves have “hung it up,” for one reason or another.
It is possible to fail so miserably in our Christian walk and service to God that it seems He could never use us again. I know of at least two men in the Bible who would challenge your grounds for resignation, however—Samson and Simon Peter. We have the stories of both these men to remind us that true repentance is the pathway to restoration of both fellowship and service.
Then again, sometimes God puts us in places and situations, not to terminate our ministry, but only to transform it. I know whereof I speak. It’s simply a matter of being in the right place at the right time. In Elisha’s case, that place was a sepulcher. And for some of us, it may also require a death—if only death to our own ambitions.
Let this story remind us that wherever we are, we are there by appointment. As A.W. Tozer says in one of his essays, “To the child of God, there is no such thing as an accident. He travels an appointed way.”
Like Elisha, when God strips us to the bone, there may yet be a miracle or two left!