Devotion 13 in the series All In: A Study of Elisha: 2 Kings 6:1-7

How to Handle Your Burdens: The Axe Head Recovered

How to Handle Your Burdens_young woman sitting on window sill, looking out window to gray day

Life had been heavy, weighty. For weeks, tension had filled the house as we navigated difficult waters. My heart barely beat, my bones ached. Would we ever see light? Would all of these burdens one day be resolved? I fell asleep too easily each night, exhausted with not living.

One night, I realized I hadn’t laughed in weeks. Falling asleep, I mumbled a prayer asking Jesus to give me something to laugh about.

I wonder how Jesus feels about those falling-asleep prayers. Does He roll His eyes at our feigned attempts at communicating with Him? Does He shake His head, thinking, ‘There she goes again, barely giving me the time of day’?

Actually, I bet He cherishes each scrap of a moment we give Him. Of course, He longs for more, as do we if we are honest about it, but didn’t He say, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28 ESV)? He knows we are tired.

Isn’t He the one who also said, “But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:6 ESV)? OK, so, well, that does imply spending time with God, but I don’t see anything there about using eloquent words or well-thought-out expressions.

Maybe the whispered, dropping-off-to-sleep pouring out of burdens is perfectly all right . . . falling asleep with our hearts toward Him.

I went to work each day, clawing through monotony, because even if my job was terrific, everything felt gray. Dead. I would encounter a problem, solve it, check the to-do off my list, and move on. Problem after problem. Gray.

Days went by.

One morning, I encountered a different sort of problem and faked a cheery memo to a colleague with whom I rarely worked. He would know the answer. Amidst the back-and-forth emails of figuring a solution, he told a Betty White joke–a clean one.

I heard laughter. It was me! Belly laugh after belly laugh. I couldn’t stop. There I sat, in my home office, guffawing. I pulled myself together and tried to focus. I reread his email and laughed again.

And then it occurred to me: Oh. My. Goodness. I had asked for this! Falling asleep nights ago, I had pleaded with my Lord for just one laugh. And my Savior had answered my prayer in the form of a Betty White joke in a colleague’s email.

If He can deliver on my little request for a good laugh, if He can make a borrowed axe head float, imagine what more He can accomplish in our lives!

Enjoy your time with the Lord today. Be sure to read the scripture passage below and reflect on the Digging Deeper questions.

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2 Kings 6:1-7 (ESV)

The Axe Head Recovered

Now the sons of the prophets said to Elisha, “See, the place where we dwell under your charge is too small for us. 2 Let us go to the Jordan and each of us get there a log, and let us make a place for us to dwell there.” And he answered, “Go.” 3 Then one of them said, “Be pleased to go with your servants.” And he answered, “I will go.” 4 So he went with them. And when they came to the Jordan, they cut down trees. 5 But as one was felling a log, his axe head fell into the water, and he cried out, “Alas, my master! It was borrowed.” 6 Then the man of God said, “Where did it fall?” When he showed him the place, he cut off a stick and threw it in there and made the iron float. 7 And he said, “Take it up.” So he reached out his hand and took it.

Digging Deeper

This is your chance to connect with God. Talk with Him about these questions. If you like to journal, write down your thoughts. Bullet points work, too!

1. What burdens you today? What little annoyance or daunting problem would you love for God to resolve? Ask God to help you.

2. Do you ever feel like you are not going to stay afloat? Back in the day, I loved watching David Letterman’s “Will It Float?” segments. He would drop unique objects into a container of water, and the audience had to guess whether the item would rise to the surface. If he would have dropped an axe head into the water, the audience would have easily guessed it would not float. But other items were not so predictable! What about a tin of cookies or a screwdriver with a plastic handle?

If you’re feeling like you’ll not stay afloat, or if you’re stuck on the bottom, hoping beyond hope that you’ll rise to the surface, reach out to Jesus today. The rest of Matthew 11 (ESV) says this:

28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

3. Want to sing? Choose a hymn or song of your choice and listen to it. Or click here to sing with, “He Is Able.” He is able, more than able, to accomplish what concerns you today.

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