Monday, June 21, 2010

That's Impossible...

(photo from
You know, I never claimed to be a very smart man, and there are several folks that just might agree. I've spent a lot of time in school, hold three degrees, and still spend a lot of time in study, but there are some things I just can't figure out. There is a constant battle waging between the left side of my brain and the right side. My bachelor's degree is in biology, with a minor in chemistry, so part of me likes to think in concrete terms. That side of my brain isn't worth a hoot at visualizing an idea that might seem abstract, or cannot be proven by science.

The right side of my brain, loves the abstract, and is constantly trying to convince the left side of my brain that just because something cannot be proven, does not mean it can't be a reality. And it's ok, I actually enjoy the tension. I usually wind up trying to think concretely about the abstract, but at the end of the day, my right brain usually wins out.

What does that have to do with anything? This morning I was reading from 2 Kings 6, and if you're familiar with the story of Elisha, you'll know that in the 6th chapter of 2 Kings, Elisha causes something to happen that is just impossible. There were a group of folks who had outgrown their meeting place so they went down to the river to begin cutting trees to build a bigger meeting space. One of them had borrowed an axe head for this undertaking. Well, you know what happens when you borrow something...Murphy's Law kicks in and something is probably going to happen to it. It did.

I can picture the scene. As he was cutting trees, and in the middle of a ferocious backswing, the axe head flies off the handle, literally, and lands in the river. Now, the scientist in me knows that the only way to get it back is to dive down and get it, because I know it's going to be sitting on the bottom of the river. Iron sinks...period. Unless it's shaped so that the weight of the water it displaces is greater than the weight of the iron. This wasn't shaped that way.

Enter Elisha...He asked where it fell in, took a stick and laid it in the river, and guess what, the axe head floated to the top. That's just impossible. It can't happen. The universal rules of physics would have to be completely suspended, but it did happen. At least in the story.

Now, here is the "So what?" moment. Here is what that story meant to me this morning. I'm standing, as I mentioned last week, in front of a door, begging God to open it. I know that the reality of what I'm about to ask my people to do is tough, and that it is going to appear as an axe head sinking in a river. There are going to be folks say that it's impossible, there always are, and actually I give thanks for that. It helps keep me in line, but...

...but, I serve a God who loves to show out with the impossible. Axe heads don't float, period...unless God wants them to float. Pastors can't convince their people to follow into new and unfamiliar territory...unless that is where God wants them.

This weekend, I have seen axeheads floating, and I have to say, the left side of my brain is reeling from everything that has happened...but the right side of my brain is having a ball.

I have learned one thing this weekend...if you ask God to make your axe head float, you had better get ready to scoop it up off of the surface of the water.


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