He said, “You have asked a hard thing. If you see me when I am taken from you, it shall be so for you; but if not, it shall not be.”
2 Kings 2:10
Elisha has stuck with Elijah right up to the point of God taking him (Elijah) up into Heaven. Elijah asks what Elisha wants Elijah to do for him before he goes and Elisha asks for a double portion of Elijah’s spirit. This morning’s verse is Elijah’s response. Elsewhere in The Bible, the question will be asked: Is anything too difficult for the LORD? The answer, of course, is no. So the question that presents itself to me this morning is: How is a double portion of Elijah’s spirit a difficult thing and for whom is it difficult?
It might be that Elijah is saying that it is difficult for him. He has asked God for many things, some of them quite odd, and God has granted each and every one except death — that request God seems to deny for a long, long time as Elijah is taken bodily into Heaven. So Elijah might be saying that taking Elisha’s request to God is challenging. I don’t think that’s it, though.
It might be that the request, if granted, would make Elisha’s life difficult. Elijah had been sent to kings to tell them about their wrongdoing and impending judgment. He had throw-downs with false prophets and close encounters of the divine kind. Elijah’s ministry is such that none had come before that were like it and none was to come after that was its equal. Perhaps Elijah had been granted insight to know that God would send a prophecy that the forerunner of the Messiah would come in the spirit and power of Elijah. Perhaps not. Either way, to have a double portion of Elijah’s spirit would be a challenging thing.
Am I asking for hard things? Nothing is too difficult for God, but am I asking for things that will challenge me and stretch me and take me out of my comfort zone? The answer is almost always “No.” I, like most people I know, prefer not to venture very far afield from my comfort zone. But to walk with God is to know that He will walk us well away from the places we find comfortable. Though I do not ask for it, I do receive it. But how different would my walk with God be if I sought out the difficult thing? I do not know and will not know unless I do so.