Separated by a chariot and horses of fire, Elijah was taken up into heaven by a whirlwind and never seen again. Elisha picked up the mantle that fell from Elijah and returned to the Jordon river to cross it. Imitating what he had seen Elijah do, he struck the waters of the river with the mantle to divide them so he could cross over but then he said, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” (2 Kings 2:14)
What a strange question! Elisha had been appointed by God to succeed Elijah, and he followed Elijah until he was taken up in the whirlwind. Elisha’s final request of Elijah was for a double portion of his spirit. The sign that his request would be fulfilled would depend on whether he saw Elijah’s departure. So having seen Elijah depart, and picking up the mantle he returns to the river and asks, “Where is God?”
It seems to me that we ask the question when we pray hoping for an answer but uncertain whether God has heard our prayers. The question has less to do about a physical location and more to do about whether God is listening. God is Spirit and is omnipresent, not bound to physical locations and we know from Scripture that God’s ears are open to the cry of the righteous and He does hear and respond.
For Elisha, the answer might be found in what happened next. The waters of the river divided just as they had for Elijah. God is near and hears!