“Now when the LORD was about to take Elijah up to heaven by a whirlwind … Elijah said to Elisha, ‘Please stay here, for the LORD has sent me as far as Bethel.’ But Elisha said, ‘As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ So they went down to Bethel. And the sons of the prophets who were in Bethel came out to Elisha and said to him, ‘Do you know that today the LORD will take away your master from over you?’ And he said, ‘Yes, I know it; keep quiet.’ Elijah said to him, ‘Elisha, please stay here, for the LORD has sent me to Jericho.’ But he said, ‘As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’ … Then Elijah said to him, ‘Please stay here, for the LORD has sent me to the Jordan.’ But he said, ‘As the LORD lives, and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.’… And as they still went on and talked, behold, chariots of fire and horses of fire separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. And Elisha saw it and he cried, ‘My father, my father! The chariots of Israel and its horsemen!’ And he saw him no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them in two pieces.” (2 Kings 2:1a, 2a, 3-4a, 6a, 11-12 ESV)
Elisha was the student of Elijah the prophet. At the end of Elijah’s life, both of them knew that God was about to take Elijah to heaven. Elisha loved his teacher, and he didn’t want to lose him. But he had no choice. So he stayed with him as faithfully as he could, following him from one place to another—until the very end.
It wasn’t easy. Elijah himself kept trying to get Elisha to stay behind—to avoid the last, difficult stages of saying goodbye. And the local religious students kept popping up to remind Elisha of exactly what he didn’t want to remember. No wonder he got cranky!
But Elisha stayed faithful—why? Because that is what love is like. It follows to the end, as far as it possibly can.
Of course, Elisha finally did have to let go. God came and took Elijah to heaven. And we, too, have to let go when the people we love die and go to be with the Lord. Those are our human limits. We cannot stay with the ones we love forever.
But Jesus can. He is the only one who can walk with us, the people He loves, every step of our lives and beyond. It doesn’t matter if the road is long or if there are obstacles—whether these come from other people or even from our own mouths. Jesus is faithful, and He loves us. He will not let us go on alone.
And when it finally comes time for us to die? Oh, then especially, He will not leave us alone! For He has already died on the cross and risen from the dead for us. He knows the way through death back to life again. And He will walk that path with us, every step, all the way to our own resurrection day. He does this because He loves us.
THE PRAYER: Thank You, Lord, for staying with me. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Why do you think Elijah kept trying to get Elisha to stay behind?
2. Have you ever loved someone through a long dying process?
3. Does it comfort you to know that Jesus has already been through death? Why or why not?