by Doug Bing, Washington Conference president
A favorite story of the Old Testament is a story of faith that happened at a school.
2 Kings 6 shares an incident that happened at one of the schools of the prophets. Now these may be different than what you may think. Not all who went there became prophets.
The schools of the prophets were places where students went to be trained for all manner of life. These were set up by prophets to help train people and also to help keep the word of God alive in the people.
It was at one of these schools that we see the story of floating faith.
The school was growing, and people were crowded in their space. They set up a plan to build a new space, planned a work bee and then invited the main prophet Elisha to come with them. He agreed and they started working.
One of the students had borrowed an axe and over the course of the day the axe head started to work loose and then in mid-swing the axe head came off, flew through the air and fell with a splash into the river.
The axe head did what all axe heads would do in that situation.
Then the individual revealed his problem. The axe was borrowed, and like most students, he was broke and had no way to pay for this very important tool of that day.
Then the miracle happened.
Elisha stepped forward and threw a stick into the river. Like a magnet attracting metal, the axe head floated to the surface. The borrowed item was restored and we assume that the work bee continued, the new building was complete and the school continued with its mission of education.
It is that moment in that school’s history that serves as a marker for the power of God and His interest in both the individual at the school as well as the school organization.
Washington Conference, much like ancient times, invests in education of our children. We do it through our schools, our Sabbath school programs, our Pathfinder clubs, our youth camps, and many other youth and children’s programs. These are all important.
This past year all of those ministries have faced crises as well. There have been moments of personal crisis and moments of institutional challenges. Yet the same God that can float iron to the surface so the work can continue can help us today.
Miraculously, our conference schools this year opened with the same number of students this year as they did last year. Each school had a Safe Start plan, and so far only a handful of potential Covid-19 concerns that were quickly addressed. Health Department officials and medical providers have commended our schools on their thorough safety and wellness plans.
In the classroom, our teachers are faithfully sharing Jesus and helping our young people learn to navigate through the issues of our day just as they did in the Old Testament. Each day, as students, educators and parents face a variety of crises, they are seeing how God still has floating faith.
Children’s Sabbath schools are restarting, and God’s word is being proclaimed in new ways both in person and online. Pathfinder clubs are beginning to start back up with lots of outdoor and physically distanced activities.
God will still help our faith and mission to move forward.
The Christian faith should still be floating to the surface no matter the crisis that the world is facing.
The Christian faith will still float to the surface for individual Christians even in the midst of pain, crisis, and uncertainty.
Let us commit together to keep crying out to God regarding the situations in our lives so that our Christianity and dependence on God will continue to float to the surface.