Often we do not control the most important matters in life. Consider Elisha. The great Elijah calls him to follow, and he does. Elisha leaves his home and serves Elijah. And here we pick up the story at the end of their time together. The time for Elijah to leave has come. Elijah asks his protégé what he can do for him before he leaves.
Elisha responds, “Give me a double portion of your spirit.” Although not father and son, Elisha asks Elijah to consider him as Elijah’s rightful heir, to receive his master’s call and ministry and power from on high. It is a natural request. It seems to be what the entire apprenticeship has been building toward. Surely Elisha has done all he can to prepare himself to take over.
Yet Elijah comes back to him saying, in essence, that this request lies outside his power to grant. It resides beyond his control and far beyond Elisha’s control. It is something only God can give.
Mildly put, being limited stinks. We can do all the little steps of technique perfectly and still see the jump shot clang off the rim of the basket instead of falling through. We can do everything in our power and still not receive the love of the person sitting across the dinner table from us.
Yet in the end, Elisha sees what he needs to see and receives what he needs to receive. In this way we are all Elisha. Our power and control remain limited, but God is still good and God’s care provides what we can’t provide for ourselves.
Allow me, God, to recognize my limits but not be frozen in despair because of them. Amen.