Hey, my friend. I don’t know about you, but I look around me and I see changes everywhere. Either changes that have been happening over the past several months, or changes about to happen in the coming weeks. I see loved ones walking through loss or hardship, or desperately seeking an answer to something that feels incredibly overwhelming and out of their control.
And it reminded me of a story from the life of the prophet Elisha. It’s told in the early chapters of 2 Kings. And I think it really speaks to these moments when maybe we know there’s something big happening or getting ready to happen, but we just don’t have it within us to have a conversation about it.
As background, Elisha was a prophet who served as a sort of apprentice with the prophet Elijah. It’s very easy to confuse the two, especially with their names being so similar. And this is the beginning of the story where Elijah is going to be passing his baton, so to speak, to Elisha. It’s a time of change, of transition. And it’s going to be a big change for both of them.
This is what it says in the first five verses of 2 Kings chapter 2:
When the Lord was about to take Elijah up to heaven in a whirlwind, Elijah and Elisha were traveling from Gilgal. And Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, for the Lord has told me to go to Bethel.”
But Elisha replied, “As surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, I will never leave you!” So they went down together to Bethel.
The group of prophets from Bethel came to Elisha and asked him, “Did you know that the Lord is going to take your master away from you today?”
“Of course I know,” Elisha answered. “But be quiet about it.”
Then Elijah said to Elisha, “Stay here, for the Lord has told me to go to Jericho.”
But Elisha replied again, “As surely as the Lord lives and you yourself live, I will never leave you.” So they went on together to Jericho.
Then the group of prophets from Jericho came to Elisha and asked him, “Did you know that the Lord is going to take your master away from you today?”
“Of course I know,” Elisha answered. “But be quiet about it.”
(2 Kings 2:1-5 NLT)
What Are Your Impending Realities?
One of the things I love about this story is that kind of courageous honesty that Elisha has. They all know that Elijah is going to be taken away that day. It is an impending reality.
Think back to when you’ve experienced those.
I remember my parents dropping me off at college, or even at my apartment years later when I officially moved out, and how we all knew the moment would come when they would need to leave, but we lingered as long as we could.
Or that moment knowing that you needed to walk into the room where your loved one lays in a casket, and desiring with everything inside of you to put off that moment as long as you can, because once you walk in, there is no more denying that incredible loss you have experienced.
Or receiving a packet of legal papers in the mail, knowing they hold the signed copies of your divorce. Knowing it is final. Knowing there is nothing more you could do. And you put off opening that envelope for just a little bit longer.
My friend, there are a lot of moments we face in life that are just overwhelming. And to try to deal with it all at once, to experience it and to try to process it, and then on top of that, to try to talk to someone else about it… we just can’t.
I Don’t Want To Talk About It
As each group of prophets comes to Elisha and says, “Did you know that the Lord is going to take your master away from you today?” he responds with, “Of course I know. But be quiet about it.”
In other words, “I don’t want to talk about it.”
Think about what this moment meant for Elisha. The man who had mentored him and taught him was nearing his last moments on earth. Like any of us being with a loved one near their time of death, we know those moments are precious, even if they are heavy and tense.
We also know there are so many emotions waging within us at a moment like that. And Elisha wasn’t ready to talk about it yet. And that was okay.
We don’t see any of the other prophets forcing Elisha to talk about it. We don’t see them trying to force him into a conversation or telling him he’s living in denial. They just seem to recognize the sacredness of the moment and let Elisha be.
Some Things Are Just Between You and God
You know, I love to support my clients and be a safe and sacred space for them to process some of the hard things stirring in their hearts and minds. But one of the things I say often to them, and even to those I have conversations with here on the podcast, is that I believe there are some things that are just between you and God. I truly believe that. And to ask you to share them, or to share them before it is time… I would never want to do that. I want you to savor that moment with the Lord, that special thing that is just between the two of you.
And I feel like it’s the same thing here. Some things you are not going to be ready to talk about—not out loud with someone else, not with God, maybe not even with yourself. It’s too much.
Are there times when we need to talk about something before we feel ready? Absolutely. I’m not sure if we’re ever truly ready when a parent is about to die or a child is going through a big change or the illness is getting worse. In those cases, I invite you to take as much time as you can, but then to rely on the Lord for strength to take the next step in front of you.
And if we’re being honest, there’s a time when it isn’t good for us to remain silent too long. To continually push off a conversation we know we need to have, to ignore a problem for too long, it’s not helpful. It might even be dangerous.
But for today, for those situations where you do have the time and you just aren’t quite ready to talk about it yet… I want you to know that’s okay. You just stay close to Jesus. Even if you can’t talk about it with Him yet either, just stay close to Him. Okay?
An Invitation to Journal Gently
I know there’s this idea that when you meet with a coach or counselor or spiritual director, sometimes they ask you some really hard questions. And that’s true. They are questions meant to support you in your journey and in your faith.
But there can be a lot of pressure there to answer the questions, even if you’re not ready, or to answer them in a specific way. And it can get scary really fast and make you just want to stop that coaching or counseling altogether.
If you have been thinking about joining Journal Gently, I want you to know that I will never pressure you to share what you write about. I don’t even tell you what to write about. If you’re going through the program to process grief about this one thing, but you discover you’re not quite ready to come face to face with that yet, it’s okay. You can choose something different to write about.
You can share parts of your journal with me if you want to, or you can simply share your favorite quote from the training, or you can just say, “Thank you for this” and leave it at that. You don’t even have to write to me at all.
It truly is such a gentle program, my friend. And even though I would love to correspond with you and walk with you through those 8 weeks of journaling together with God, I also know you might just need to do it on your own. And that’s okay.
So if that’s you, if that’s what has been holding you back from taking a step toward healing, then please consider this your invitation to set that fear aside and tell God, “Okay, I’m ready to start processing this thing together with You.” Would you do that?
You can learn more and sign up at lovedoesthat.org/journalgently.
Okay, my friend, that is all for today. Until next time, let’s encourage one another…
- Episode 28: How Elisha Inspires Me to Look After Others
- Episode 54: 4 Simple Ways to Start (or Keep) Journaling
Learn more and register for Journal Gently, an 8-week program designed to help you use writing as a way to process hurt, grief, and trauma with God.