Memo 1001: Natural Problem, Supernatural Solution
As we continue our series on how to unlock the power of your faith, let's go back to the Old Testament and consider another story from the life of Elisha. Two weeks ago, we saw him help a widow pay off her debt. This week, we see him use his faith to help one of his colleagues solve a problem.
FLOATING AX HEAD
The story we want to look at is in 2 Kings 6:
One day the prophets said to Elisha, “The place where we meet with you is too small. Why don’t we build a new meeting place near the Jordan River? Each of us could get some wood, then we could build it.” “That’s a good idea,” Elisha replied,”get started.” “Aren’t you going with us?” one of the prophets asked. “Yes, I’ll go,” Elisha answered, and he left with them.
They went to the Jordan River and began chopping down trees. While one of the prophets was working, his ax head fell off and dropped into the water. “Oh!” he shouted. “Sir, I borrowed this ax.” “Where did it fall in?” Elisha asked. The prophet pointed to the place, and Elisha cut a stick and threw it into the water at that spot. The ax head floated to the top of the water. “Now get it,” Elisha told him. And the prophet reached in and grabbed it (1 Kings 6:1-7, CEV).
Elisha's colleague was obligated to replace this ax head since it was borrowed, but I am getting ahead of myself. Let's look at some of the faith highlights from this unusual story.
- Elisha was open to the ideas of others. The prophets were confident they could build a new meeting facility and Elisha endorsed the idea. Elisha did not have to be the one in charge.
- Elisha was right there with his team. His fellow prophets wanted Elisha along and he obliged, staying close to the work. When there was a problem, he was within shouting distance of what was going on.
- Elisha came up with a faith solution. Elisha did not dive into the water and he didn't order the one who lost the tool to go in either. He didn't run from the problem. He simply asked, "Where's the problem?" That was his faith focus. He did not deny reality or pray. Elisha acted in faith.
- Elisha saw a solution that did not seem connected to the problem. This stick solution was not the answer to every ax head problem. It was a creative response to that particular situation. Elisha did not start "Ax Head Ministries" or sponsor "Stick in Water Solutions."
- Elisha involved his colleague in the solution. Elisha did not get the ax head for the prophet, but told him to get it for himself.
Here are some thoughts to help you apply this story to your own faith walk.
- Look beyond the problem. If you have lost something made of iron in water, it's usually lost unless you dive in to retrieve it—if you can even find it. Yet Elisha's faith allowed him to find a supernatural solution that went beyond a natural explanation. What faith solution would God like to give you if you are open to it? You may have to give to get, or serve to be promoted, or go low before God will take you high.
- The more eyes, the better. The prophet did not hesitate to call on someone he thought could help him. It is important to include others when looking for a faith solution, but only those who have eyes of faith.
- It seems that wood is always helpful. In Exodus 15:22-26, the people complained about bitter water, but when Moses threw in a piece of wood, the waters because sweet. The wood of Christ's cross has made a way for you to God, which means His cross can make the bitter sweet or the heavy float. Take your problems to Him.
- You are going to get dirty and wet. The prophets had to build their new shelter and school and when there was a problem, Elisha did not get the ax head for his fellow prophet. He had to do that for himself. There are no faith shortcuts or substitute stand-ins. You have to involve yourself through faith actions to make faith progress.
What other lessons can you see and learn from this story? Feel free to share them where this entry is posted. In the meantime, if you are going to unlock the power of your faith, you must look beyond the problem to the God of the solution and act with faith in His ability to do the impossible. Have a blessed week!