Love longs for the above—for our heavenly home—but it also steps down to those below. It is like Moses who grew up in Pharaoh’s palace but cannot stand to be separated from the afflictions of his people. “By faith when he became of age, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than enjoy the passing pleasure of sin, esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt; for he looked to the reward” (Heb. 11:24-26).
Love is like Elijah who stretched himself on the widow’s dead son to revive him. Elijah’s life came face to face with death. Like Jesus he engaged death face to face, not fearing its power. Elijah knew that the power of God’s resurrection life was greater than the law of sin and death. He stretched himself out upon the boy––eye to eye, mouth to mouth, body to body––just like Jesus stretched himself out on the cross. In that upper room of prayer Elijah cried out to God and the Lord sent his Spirit:
“And he stretched himself out on the child three times, and cried out to the Lord and said, “O Lord my God, I pray, let this child’s soul come back to him. Then the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him and he revived. And Elijah took the child and brought him down from the upper room into the house, and gave him to his mother. And Elijah said, ‘See, your son lives! Then the woman said to Elijah, ‘Now by this I know that you are a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in your mouth is the truth.’” (1 Kings 17:21-24).
It is the power of resurrection that will bring life to those who are dead in trespasses and sins. Only as we are in face to face contact with those who are dead will we be able to impart life and bring that which is from above down to the earth below. Not only do we need to step down, but also in stepping down we need to lift those who are below up to the heavenly heights. We are to minister to the lost in the spirit of “the upper room.” This means discomfort––Elijah stretched himself out on the child three times. This means intimacy––Elijah stretched himself out on the child three times. This means a heart for the “children of disobedience”––Elijah stretched himself out on the child three times (Luke 1:17). This means persistence––Elijah stretched himself out three times. Elijah shows us that the way of the cross is the way to resurrection.
Prayer: Father, may I also follow the example of Moses, Elijah and Jesus. Moses stepped down from fame and safety to be with God’s suffering people. Elijah stretched himself out on a dead boy to bring him life. And you, Jesus, stretched yourself out in love on the cross to bridge the gap between that which is above and that which is below. May that same love be in me, in Jesus’ name.