II Kings 6:1-7
And the sons of the prophets said unto Elisha, behold now, the place where we dwell with thee is too strait for us.
2 Let us go, we pray thee, unto Jordan, and take thence every man a beam, and let us make us a place there, where we may dwell. And he answered, Go ye.
3 And one said, be content, I pray thee, and go with thy servants. And he answered, I will go.
4 So he went with them. And when they came to Jordan, they cut down wood.
5 But as one was felling a beam, the axe head fell into the water: and he cried, and said, Alas, master! for it was borrowed.
6 And the man of God said, where fell it? And he shewed him the place. And he cut down a stick, and cast it in thither; and the iron did swim.
7 Therefore said he, Take it up to thee. And he put out his hand, and took it.
This is a very simple story that contains an incredible miracle. The basic gist of it is that there were some young men who determined to build a new house because the old one was too small. They set out with each of the young men getting an assignment of having to gather up a beam so that a house could be built. It was not long into the enterprise before a borrowed axe head ends up in the bed of the river.
The axe is flying and the blade is biting deep into the tree. The tree trembles and then it falls to the ground. He passes on to the next tree and starts to take it down, but amid his work the axe head comes off and sinks to the bottom of the river.
The young man begins to panic: How is the building to be finished? How is the rest of the wood going to be gathered? What are we going to do? How was he going to explain the lost axle head?
One sudden stroke, during the young man’s efforts to succeed, and everything collapses. Everything comes to a grinding halt and a crisis appears.
There are such crisis events that will take place in the life of every believer and every church. No one is immune from it. If you trace the lives of the greatest of God’s saints and the greatest churches, somewhere, there will be a record of a lost axe head.
It happens in various ways to churches. It happens when leaders backslide, when Truth is not carefully taught, when the people get into quarrels and unity is destroyed, when complacency begins to strangle the anointing of God, or when sin enters and is allowed to continue without correction.
There are many ways the axle head can become lost in a church, and the same holds true for individuals. If we are willing to admit it, all of us at some point in our lives have come to the place where we lost the axe head.
It can happen when we allow responsibilities overwhelmed us, when sickness prevails in our body, when we allow offenses to take over our best intentions, when we begin to watching others instead of God, or when we get weary in well-doing.
But regardless of the reason, the axe head becomes lost and it shuts down our vision, impedes our spiritual dreams, stifles our prayer life, and chokes out our faith. It literally shuts down every bit of the productive fruit that has been growing in our lives. I have been there more than once in my life.
When you have lost your axe head, you are much more susceptible to listening to the voice of the enemy. Discouragement gives him an open road into your soul. It is in the middle of weeping over the axe head that despairing voices seem the loudest: “We are never going to get this thing done. There is too much work and not enough resources. What we needed most has been lost.”
In an atmosphere like that it is hard, in fact almost impossible for our faith to prevail. It is an atmosphere like this that will test your thinking. The fact is that the highest challenge to our thinking is our feelings. How a man feels about his situation, his set of circumstances, and his lot in life will determine what happens in the end.
John Maxwell wrote, “If you are willing to change your thinking, you can change your feelings. If you change your feelings, you can change your actions. Changing your actions can change your life.”
I have been sick lately and I won’t lie, it’s brought thoughts of discouragement into my mind. The lies of the enemy have been assaulting my faith. The voice of the devil has sought to vanquish my soul. But as I meditated on God’s Word, as I have prayed, and have had so many praying for me, the voice of God shouts louder: “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world…no weapon formed against you shall prosper…He who begun a good work in you is able to complete… For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.”
I am determined to have revival in my life! I am determined to retrieve the axe head and continue the restoration that God has only just begun in my life. I will not let the devil have his way! I will not shrink back! He cannot defeat me, because he cannot defeat the God that lives inside me! I will, “Call upon the Lord, Who is worthy to be praised, so shall I be saved from my enemies!”
God’s carpenters sometimes show more strength than skill. We can put a lot of confidence in our flesh or in the human wisdom of the heart and leave no room for God to work in the middle of the dilemma. Regardless of how much strength we have or how many skills we possess, they can never compensate for the lack of the supernatural anointing.
There are no substitutes for the lost axe head. There are no substitutes for a church or an individual life that is on fire for Jesus! There are no substitutes for answered prayer! There’s no substitutes for receiving the Holy Ghost! There’s no substitutes for liberty in worship! There’s no substitutes for having a passion for the Word! There’s no substitutes for personal revival!
We don’t usually lose our greatest assets deliberately. The thing most valuable to these young men at this point in their project was the axe. They were on their way to do something noble and important, but in the process, they lost what they needed most.
The majority of those that lose their axe heads do not do it purposely or with evil intent, it happened while they were doing the best they could with the situation that presented itself to them. They were thrown a pitch and they had to swing at it. Life is like this all the time, you don’t get the choice of pitches thrown to you, you can only react to what has taken place. For most of us, we don’t just decide to thrown in the towel, it is through the course of living, the crosses we wrestle, and the burdens that weigh us down that our joy is stolen from us.
It is at these times that there are two competing voices, both calling for surrender, but offering two very distinct choices: surrendering to the voice of the enemy offers defeat, surrendering to the voice of God offers victory.
I am Certain that there are places in our lives that we should never return, but that axe head at the bottom of the river can only be recovered where it was lost. If you have lost something, go back to where you lost it and pick it back up again! God still has more work for you to do.