Hope floats & so does an ax
The mud squished between my toes as I entered the murky waters for my baptism. Though many years have passed since my 8-year-old self braved that pond, I still remember my fear that something unseen might get me! Do fish bite? Do snakes swim under water? I laugh now but at 8 those were serious concerns.
I love that memory and can still find that pond 5 miles from our home. Yet as fond as my baptism memory is, I have no desire to step out into another pond. Give me a nice chlorinated pool or the crystal clear Caribbean waters and then I’m there!
After reading a short story in 2 Kings set near water I imagine quite murky, I’m left scratching my head. The seven verses tell a story that seems thrown in randomly between Naaman’s healing and a battle scene. Why?
God inspired men to write the words that fit together to create THE Word. He didn’t waste space or time to include details, characters, or stories even seemingly trivial ones without a purpose. So let’s dig in to learn from this one…
The company of prophets near Elisha decided to build a place for them all to live in. The men accompanied by Elisha went to fell trees near the Jordan River.
“As one of them was cutting down a tree, the iron ax head fell into the water. ‘Oh, my lord,’ he cried out, ‘it was borrowed!’ The man of God asked, ‘Where did it fall?’ When he showed him the place, Elisha cut a stick and threw it there, and made the iron float. ‘Lift it out,’ he said. Then the man reached out his hand and took it.” 2 Kings 6: 5-7
Three things stand out.
- First, the man believed his ax gone forever and immediately called out to Elisha.
- Second, Elisha listened, was sympathetic, and asked where in the murky waters the ax fell.
- Third, Elisha went beyond the laws of nature to retrieve the lost ax even though he wasn’t asked to do so.
My walk with God often parallels this story. First, an event leaves me upset or feeling hopeless so my reaction is to call out, often times with nothing more than ‘dear, Lord!’ Second, God listens and comes near. Third, God moves. Sometimes he brings a nature-defying miracle. Sometimes he just holds me. Sometimes he just reminds my heart hope is not lost because he is still at work.
Now, I understand why this short story that may seem so trivial at first made it onto the pages of scripture!
Lord, thank you for the Word and for the reminder that you are near, that you hear, and that you move. The laws of nature and human reasoning do not bind you! You can make hope float even when I mistakenly believe hope lost! You are so amazing! Amen!