Imagine yourself in Elisha’s shoes, answering the future madman Hazael. Elisha knows Hazael will murder the present king Ben-Hadad along with many others. In the past, Elisha has used great power to stop evil and evildoers, but God is not commissioning Elisha to stop Hazael in this instance. I think many of us in Elisha’s place would be tempted to take matters into our own hands with violence. Hazael will lead with evil and his reign will produce carnage. Even pregnant women will have babies ripped out of their wombs due to Hazael’s whims. Elisha has not only great powers to do good, like he does for the Shunamite woman, and to oppose evil leaders, like Joram; but Elisha also carries the responsibility to tell a murderer he will do evil, and then walk away without lifting a finger to stop him. Such a calling and work require great faith in God’s goodness and wisdom.
Though we will most likely never face circumstances like Elisha’s, we often must wrestle with God’s choice to allow evil which He obviously can stop. In that wrestling, the greatest help we have is our knowledge and experience of God’s goodness in days where our course of action would be different. Certainly, there is no greater way to know this goodness than through knowing Christ, the crucified King. When we wrestle with evil which God does not stop, we must also wrestle with the fact that God does not stop the death of his own eternally beloved son for us. This will not stop all our wrestling, but it unquestionably proves God’s love and goodness even when we can’t make perfect sense of the particulars.
Elisha is given strength to carry on with his work only by faith in God’s goodness. In a similar manner, God’s goodness is our strength to carry on with our work in confusing days.