When You Fly Off the Handle

The family and I had had such an amazing and anointed time at Minnesota Assemblies of God Family camp this past week, there were so many nuggets of truth shared and treasured but one has been on my mind these past few days that I wanted to share with whoever may need this.

Pastor and I got to sit in a Bible Study with other Pastors and Spouses under the teaching of Scott Hagen, the president of North Central University in Minneapolis. It was the only one we were able to attend and what a mighty teaching it was. Scott brought up the miracle of the floating axe head found in 2 Kings 6. Here’s how the story goes (but be sure to read it for yourself in the actual Bible)

Some prophets wanted to build a bigger meeting place for Elisha. In the building process a man’s axe head flies off his axe stick and falls into the river. IMMEDIATELY (key word here) he cries out! “HELP!!! This axe head that isn’t mine, it’s borrowed, has fallen in the river! Please help me find it!” Elisha rushes over and asks “Where did it fall in?” “Right there!” as the man points to the exact spot. So Elisha throws a stick in to where the man points and up FLOATS the IRON axe head (floats, ya’all!! FLOATS). The man goes in and grabs it and gets back to work.

Pretty amazing. I mean, we all know iron axe heads don’t float. And another miracle… he lost something in the river and knew exactly where it was. Have you ever lost something in the river? Even something heavy can be washed further away just by the currents. But, that’s usually if you wait. If you hesitate and don’t go in immediately those items can be lost… and that was the point of Scott’s devotional that day.

This man earned his living by working hard for it. He was so destitute that he had to borrow equipment in order to even work. Perhaps this wasn’t his normal line of work. Some scholars think the translation here could mean that the owner had begged, pleaded, and borrowed money in order to purchase the axe. He NEEDED that axe, it was the means to making a living. And how embarrassing to have it fly off and into the river, leaving him trying to chop wood with a long stick. He could have easily slumped his shoulders and thought, “it is what it is, I’m destined to live the way I live!” But he knew he needed help. So he cried out, “HELP!” and he did it immediately. Had he waited he may not have been able to locate just where it went in. Even if the axe head sank to the bottom, finding the exact spot is nearly impossible. But seeing the ripple effect allowed him to know the exact location.

The mention of this happening in the Bible can teach us a few things. As Scott put it in his devotional it can apply to our marriages. When a spouse “flies off the handle”, maybe pressures from a job get too heavy or bills are stacking up and we hit our breaking point and we yell at our spouse. If we ignore that offense and move on it will be nearly impossible to come back to find the spot where hurt was doled out. But if you deal with it immediately. Recognize that the words were hurtful, that the actions were unwarranted, that the love of your life is in damaged by your actions IMMEDIATELY and cry out to God and IMMEDIATELY make it right (apologize, admit your wrong, ask for forgiveness) the impact of that “flying off the handle” will be minimized greatly.

Scott used the terminology of how couples will say, “I don’t know where things went wrong in our marriage, somewhere along the way we’ve just lost our way.” Just like if you had dropped something into a river, did not go back immediately to find it, you would have a very hard time finding it years later. But if you had dropped it in, seen those ripple effects and reached in the water right then… your hand would find that item nearly immediately. The same has to happen in your marriage. When you’ve let the stress and pressures and sin of the world bear down so hard that you suddenly fly off the handle, reach out IMMEDIATELY. Don’t let resentment creep in. Don’t let feelings of hurt and anger seep in. Don’t let a second go by before righting yourself, asking God for help, and reaching in to remedy the issue you just created.

We all mess up. We all say things with tones we don’t realize come out of our mouths. But we all have the power to reach right in and fix those mistakes.

“Whoa! I just said something that hurt you. I am so sorry. I should not have reacted that way. Will you please forgive me?”

It’s a simple couple of sentences (and a contrite heart) that can gain composure after flying off the handle.

This is also true when dealing with your children, your co-workers, your boss, your pastor, your deacons, your best friend… really… it works with anyone. Anytime you sin against another person you have the time to immediately make it right.

Notice in 2 Kings 6:7 Elisha says “Pick it up yourself”. God could have done this miracle in a million different ways. God is powerful enough to have made that axe head just suddenly reappear on the end of the stick. POOF! and be done. But instead He involved the man in the process. “Go pick it up yourself.” Yes, God can heal wounds even without the guilty party apologizing. I walk around daily with a healed heart after many people have wronged me in the past 40 years. I don’t HAVE to have them apologize in order to know my worth… but what a mighty work God can do in their lives if they’d just be obedient and cry out for help. God wants us to do our part of the miracle of reconciliation. He wants us to take the steps into that river in order to bring healing to those we’ve hurt or wronged. It does something in US when we cry out, and reach out, and find the axe we just let go of.

So the next time you find yourself flying off the handle, don’t take another breath before you cry out to God for help, then take the steps to grab back what you’ve lost. Of course this man in our example did not sin. But when we do it, we spew hurt and cause damage. Don’t hesitate; don’t lose your way. Immediately reach out and grab hold of the situation and seek forgiveness. I promise you’ll see a miracle happen in your marriage, parental relationship, work situation… whatever relationship that needs mending.

**If you failed to act immediately, it’s not to late to right a wrong. Ask for forgiveness soon. Don’t go one more day without heading in and grabbing what was once lost.

I want to thank MN District Family Camp for such godly leadership. Their camp at Lake Geneva Christian Center is phenomenal. If you’d like more information on how you can attend next year, visit their website at www.lakegenevacamp.com/familycamp

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