Posted by: jakinnan | February 24, 2013

Passionless and Indifferent


farm country and meadows - w023

I thought of the last story we have from the life of the prophet Elisha. Jehoash was king of Israel at the time, and he went to visit Elisha on his sickbed. He knew that without the help of this great prophet, the future of Israel was looking dim. Enemies were closing in on every side, waiting for the kill. Elisha told the king to take in hand some arrows.

And the king took them. Elisha told him, “Strike the ground.” He struck it three times and stopped. The man of God was angry with him and said, “You should have struck the ground five or six times; then you would have defeated [your enemies] completely . . . But now you will defeat [them] only three times.” Elisha died and was buried. (2 Kings 13:18-20)

That’s it? What a strange story! Why was the old prophet so angry? Because the king was nonchalant; he was passionless, indifferent. He gave the ground a whack or two. His heart wasn’t in it. God says, in effect, “If that is how little you care about the future of your people, that is all the help you will get.” In other words, if your heart’s not in it, well then, neither is mine. You can’t lead a country, let alone flourish in a marriage, with an attitude like that. To abandon desire is to say, “I don’t really need you; I don’t really want you. But I will live with you because, well, I’m supposed to.” It is a grotesque corruption of what was meant to be a beautiful dance between desire and devotion.

-John Eldredge, Desire, 56-57

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