The other day I received a phone call from a friend who wanted to speak encouragement over me heading into the New Year. As he began to speak, he said something along the lines of “I believe there is going to be some stretching this year.” This is a common enough phrase that people use to suggest that the Lord is going to stretch us beyond our comfort zone, grow or strengthen us, but as soon as he said “stretching,” I heard in my spirit, “stretch out, stretch over, lay on top of.” My mind ran to 2 Kings 3:31-35.
Gehazi hurried on ahead and laid the staff on the child’s face, but nothing happened. There was no sign of life. He returned to meet Elisha and told him, “The child is still dead.”
When Elisha arrived, the child was indeed dead, lying there on the prophet’s bed. He went in alone and shut the door behind him and prayed to the Lord. Then he lay down on the child’s body, placing his mouth on the child’s mouth, his eyes on the child’s eyes, and his hands on the child’s hands. And as he stretched out on him, the child’s body began to grow warm again! Elisha got up, walked back and forth across the room once, and then stretched himself out again on the child. This time the boy sneezed seven times and opened his eyes!
I do not fully understand why sometimes God calls us to speak to graves and sometimes He asks us to lay on top of corpses, but I know this: we will only see resurrection to the extent we have experienced it ourselves. Jesus was able to speak to Lazarus’ tomb because He was himself the Resurrection and the Life. The young boy in our story was past the point of CPR. He needed a breath that is not human. He needed someone who was filled with the breath of God to stretch himself over, lay on top of and ultimately give his life to see the dead thing come back to life. Elisha carried revival in his bones.
Elisha was not waiting for a critical mass of Israelites to gather so that revival could come in a special meeting. Elisha knew that if life was going to come and revive dead things, he would have to personally carry that life in his bones. When a tool of Elisha’s ministry (his staff) didn’t accomplish what Elisha hoped it would, things got personal. Elisha shut the door. Elisha got alone with God. Elisha prayed. Elisha stretched himself over the dead thing. When things started to warm up, he didn’t stop short. He prayed again. He paced. He prayed. He stretched himself out again. And he saw death turn to life.
Such is the call of every man and woman who is not content with warm meetings and warm Christianity. Such is the call of every son and daughter who carries revival and resurrection power in their bones. Such is the call of you and I.
Will you shut the door? Get alone with God? Pray? Stretch yourself out and lay on top of dead things, whether it’s a marriage, wayward son or daughter, or the fellow believers you are in community with? Will you pace and pray some more? Will you refuse to accept a spirit of resignation that stops at the point of warm? Will you stretch yourself out again until life comes back and eyes are opened? I love what Maria Durso once said to our staff, “Elisha didn’t know the language of quit.” In 2019 let’s commit to being men and women of a like spirit. If we want to see revival, it has to get personal. Become a carrier of the revival you long to see.