Do your axe heads float? I have found that many of mine don’t. Before you get too confused or frustrated to continue reading, I should tell you that I was reading through the ministry of the prophet Elisha recently. (1 Kings 19 – 2 Kings 13) He did some pretty strange stuff. I mean, he does the kinds of things that if you don’t believe Genesis 1:1, they’ll make you think that the Bible is just ancient Jewish folklore.
He really is quite an amazing prophet. After the spectacular departure of his master Elijah (2 Kings 2) he goes on to perform stunning miracles. Consider this…early in his ministry he made water rush into and fill a dry creek bed to water the armies of three kings. Next he took up the cause of a widow who was about to be sold into slavery along with her son and caused her single small jar of oil to fill enough jars to pay off their creditors completely. Then there’s the Shunammite woman’s son. He literally lies down on top of the dead boy and the child comes back to life! He goes on to purify a pot of deadly stew so the sons of the prophets can eat during a famine and he healed Naaman from leprosy.
It’s among these amazing, almost outlandish miracles that I came across one that made me stop and think. (as if the others didn’t spin the wheels a turnin’ in my mind) It’s found in 2 Kings 6. The sons of the prophets go down to the Jordan River to cut down trees and built a place to live. Elisha goes with them. While cutting down the trees one of the men looses an axe head that he borrowed for the task. The man tells Elisa who cuts off a stick, throws it in the water and makes the iron axe head float to the surface. The man who lost it reached out his hand and picked it up.
This is what I don’t understand. It was just an axe head. Okay, it was borrowed. So just replace it. Now I know that it required perhaps more money than the man had but there was a company of prophets there. Surely among all of them they could find the funds necessary to replace the borrowed axe head. It just doesn’t seem like such a big deal to me. Not exactly in line with watering three armies from a dry creek bed, saving a widow and her son from slavery, raising a child back to life and curing a Syrian commander of leprosy. This floating axe head feels out of place here. It’s just not important enough. That’s what caught me off guard with this story.
I think that far too many times in my life I fail to take the little things that stress, worry, concern or bother me to God because I imagine that they are too small and I don’t want to ‘inconvenience’ God with my unimportant matters. But if they’re unimportant, why do they stress me? And if they bother me, why wouldn’t I take them to God?
Isn’t God busy being concerned with the AIDS epidemic in Africa, the sex-slave traffic in Asia, the persecution of Christians around the world, the plight of the gospel among unreached people groups, wars, famine and injustice around the globe? You know, the important things that are happening every second on the planet? The things He had Elisha engaging in during his brief ministry?
I mean, it’s not like my child is dying, or I am suffering from a life-threatening disease or my family is going to be sold into slavery. It’s more like…we need a building for our church…I need to get a project done for work and the pieces aren’t falling into place…I’m overcommitted but I need to honor my word.
These are the little ‘axe heads’ in my life. And rather than taking them to God, I just often just let them sit there at the bottom of the river and try to figure out how I’m going to replace them. Meanwhile, God is sitting firmly on His throne. And yes He is engaged in the AIDS epidemic and everything else mentioned above. But He is not ‘busy’. Not like we, or at least I, sometimes think.
While He is present and actively engaged in all of those things He is also present and engaged with you and me. He’s watching as our axe heads fly out of control toward the river. He’s waiting for us to take our problems and concerns to Him. He’s wondering why we go out and busy ourselves trying to replace them. He’s wishing that we would just turn and release all of our cares and concerns to him. (Phil. 4:6-7)
So many of my axe heads lie lifelessly at the bottom of the river. All the while God stands ready to throw a stick into the water and make iron float. He wants me to marvel at His power over the physical laws of nature. To wonder like David did that the God of the universe knows my name. To experience His peace that surpasses all of my pitiful understanding. To experience Him as He provides for my simple needs.
You’re axe heads can float. So can mine. Just like the son of the prophet in 2 Kings 6. This week, give them all to God. Ask and allow Him provide for you. Worship Him as He meets with you. He is worthy! He is waiting!