Life becomes wonderful when we see that God has a purpose – a glorious purpose – in everything He permits to come into our lives. When He says ‘No’ to our prayers, that too is an answer that comes from a heart of perfect love.
“I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for your welfare and not for calamity – to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). One reason why God has permitted this world to be an uncomfortable place to live in – with disease and sickness and poisonous snakes etc., – is so that people may turn to Him in their distress – so that He might bless them. God uses even the evil (that Satan causes), to work for the furtherance of His purposes. When we meet the ransomed in eternity, and hear their stories, we will discover more fully how God used snake-bites, financial difficulties, cancers etc., to turn people away from sin to become His children. We will also hear how God used suffering to sanctify His children so that they might partake of His nature. In that day, we will thank God for many things that we could not understand here on earth. But the man of faith does not have to wait until that day. He believes in God’s wisdom and love right now – and so he has already begun to give thanks for everything. The ultimate purpose in all of God’s dealings with us is that we might partake of His nature. God works all things together for our good – the good being that we might be conformed to the likeness of His Son.
In the three parables in Luke chapter 15, we see pictures of four types of backsliders- a lost sheep, a lost younger son, a lost elder son and a lost coin – and also of the Triune God.
The lost sheep is a picture of a believer who went astray accidentally or through carelessness. The shepherd is a picture of Jesus, the Son of God. The prodigal son is a picture of a believer who went away in rebellion against God and the church. The father is a picture of God the Father. He does not go seeking for such a one as in the first case. He waits until the son reaches the level of the pigs and comes back on his own. The older son is a picture of those who are lost in legalism and self-righteousness and pride.
There are three main reasons why Elisha was anointed:
1. Thirst: The first reason why God anointed Elisha was he thirsted for it and coveted it more than anything else in the world. In 2 Kings 2:1-10, we read how Elijah tested him on this point. He first told Elisha to stay on at Gilgal, while he himself moved on. But Elisha refused to leave Elijah. Then Elijah led him 15 miles west to Bethel, and then 12 miles back to Jericho and then a further 5 miles east to Jordan, testing Elisha’s persistence and earnestness at each stage. Finally, Elijah asked him if there was any one request he could grant him before he left. And Elisha said, I want only one thing. That is why I have been following you all this time. That is why I wouldn’t leave you, even when you tried to shake me off. I want a double portion of your spirit. Elisha longed for the anointing with all his heart. He wasn’t going to be satisfied with anything less. And he got what he asked for.