Do You See the “Horses and Chariots of Fire”?

Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.   Psalm 119:18

Look around the room you’re in.  What do you see?  Well, probably your computer or your smart phone if you’re reading this article on it.  But what else do you see?

Do you see everything in the room?  At first it’s easy to think so.  But it’s almost impossible to see everything in a given place.  There’s stuff under the table or desk, in the drawers, and in your pockets that you don’t see, just to name a few.

But there are other things you don’t see that are present.  Well, I shouldn’t really call them things.  Because they are ideas.

Do you see the love for your family and friends in the room?  How about God’s love for you.  The eyeballs just can’t perceive these things.  We may see examples of love, but you can’t see love itself with the human eye.

When the Psalmist prayed for God to open his eyes, I don’t think he meant to raise the little flaps of skin covering round-ish material shapes in the center of his face.

Elisha’s eyes were open.

I love the story in II Kings, chapter 6 when the king of Syria and his army surrounded the city where Elisha was.  Elisha’s servant saw the horses, and chariots, and soldiers, oh my! and panicked.  Who wouldn’t?

Elisha wouldn’t and didn’t.  He told his servant not to be afraid.  Then he uttered a simple little prayer, made a simple request of God:

And Elisha prayed, and said, Lord, I pray thee, open his eyes, that he may see. And the Lord opened the eyes of the young man; and he saw: and, behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire round about Elisha.                  II Kings 6:17

But weren’t his eyes already open?  Isn’t that how he had seen all those Syrians?

Elisha wasn’t praying for his servant’s material eyes to be opened.  They were already open and that was why the young man was afraid.  He could only see what the physical eyes took in.  And it was a terrifying sight.

But Elisha wasn’t afraid because he was using his spiritual vision.  He “saw” the presence and power of God–represented by the horses and chariots of fire.

He prayed for his servant to see this same spiritual vision.  And God answered his prayer.

The implication is that the horses and chariots of fire were already there.  Elisha saw them.  But the young man didn’t and that’s why he was frightened.

So how about you and me?

Have you ever been in a terrifying situation?  I have.

During my junior year in college, I studied in southern France.  One day a group of us climbed Mount Sainte Victoire (made famous by Cezanne, his painting below) near Aix-en-Provence.  Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate at all.

Mont Sainte Victoire near Aix-en-Provence, France
Mont Sainte Victoire near Aix-en-Provence, France

We were totally drenched by the time we reached the small shelter near the summit.  Wouldn’t you know it, once we got inside, it stopped raining.  At least we were able to dry out a little in front of a welcoming fire.

But on the way down, it started to rain again and suddenly we were caught in a terrible electrical storm.  The rain was coming down so hard, we might as well have been in a swimming pool.

The lightening was flying fast and furious just above our heads.  It was a very frightening picture.  And my friends were absolutely terrified.

But earlier that morning, I had been praying to see that God was in charge of the day, whether the weather was good or bad.  And suddenly, right in the middle of the electrical storm, I was not afraid at all.

Okay, I didn’t actually see any horses and chariots of fire, but I felt God’s presence and power.  I was absolutely certain that we would all be safe.

I had just learned the Lord’s Prayer in French and was shouting it at the top of my lungs.  It was not a prayer of desperation but of total conviction of God’s supremacy.  I felt an amazing sense of peace.

As we finally got off the mountain and were crossing the bridge over a dam, that’s when it happened.  After all that lightening above our heads, it finally struck very near us.

I saw a brilliant flash directly in front of my eyes.

There was a surge of electricity through my body.  And there was more than a tingle in my pocket where the keys to my apartment were.  They were the kind Benjamin Franklin would have used with his kite, two skeleton keys, each about five inches long.

But I was totally unfazed and unharmed.  Everyone else felt it too, but no one was injured in the least—just shaken up.  We waited out the rest of the storm in someone’s barn and then made our way back to town.

It sounds kind of odd, but I actually enjoyed that experience because I was so convinced God was protecting us.  It was a spiritual dominion moment.  My spiritual eyes were open and I “saw” that God was in control.

Have you had an experience when God “opened your eyes” to see what the material eyes could not?  I’d love to hear about it.  Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Whether we are in a frightening situation or a happy one, we need to see with the open eyes of spiritual vision.  If you don’t see the “horses and chariots of fire,” they are there nonetheless.  That is the time to pray with the Psalmist, “Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law.”

And when others can’t see God in control, don’t try to open their eyes for them.  That’s God’s job.  But pray with Elisha,  “open his/[her] eyes, that [s]he may see.”

Again, please share your “open eye” experiences below.  I’d love to hear from you.