It was a shitty Sunday morning and I was on my way to church. “Who the heck comes to such conclusions?” I asked myself after seeing a bill board that screamed “Life is beautiful”. I should have felt ashamed for conceding to the fact that I felt a Sunday morning was shitty but that was how I felt. My heart was heavier than an anvil made of lead. Life, like a swarm of angry bees, had stung me into exhaustion and as I went to church, I did not feel like being in church. Reeling but standing, it was like Mike Tyson had pummeled me with sledge-hammer blows. The only thing that kept me going that morning was that I had to be somewhere away from the house, so I thought I might as well go and kneel before my King.
My dad was so ill in the hospital that the general consensus was that he was going to die. My wife had a couple of miscarriages in the past year. The theme of the year for my church was enlargement. Based on that, I took giant steps in faith by expanding my business. However, the suppliers of my goods decided they did not want to do business in Nigeria anymore due to infrequent power amongst other things. The loan I had borrowed for the expansion had gone under. I had invested methodically in stocks which the recession wiped out completely. The two plots of land I had bought in Lekki were under litigation. My youngest and favourite sister was nearly going crazy; her fiancé of ten years had broken up with her and was making arrangements to marry another. I empathized with her pain. Relationships take a lot out of us and to be thrown aside like dirt after investing so much time, emotion and finances into one was excruciatingly agonizing. I was confused, frustrated and tired. My soul had been marinated in the sauce of worry, charred on the coals of anxiety and now wild dogs of fear fed voraciously on it. Haunted beyond belief, I felt like I had lost everything.
I was a member of the prayer team hence I went to pray before the service even though I didn’t feel like praying. My emotions were a jumble of contradictory feelings hence everything I did was by religious rote. I got into the prayer room and went off to one corner to kneel. I started feeling a bit better as the worship and prayers went on. To my surprise and chagrin, I was asked to lead prayers. Of all the days! God sure does have a sense of humour. Since I could not refuse, I decided to humor my prayer leader, all the while wondering what I was going to pray about. As I started speaking in tongues, I began to surf the pages of life, down the streams of time and found myself about six thousand years in the past…..
The room is cramped and suffused with sweet-smelling incense, burning touches in their sconces and lamps splintered and scattered shadows. I see a couple of men reading the Torah, others praying and some in deep meditation. The generic livery around here is some kind of priestly gown. Walking about, I realize I am in some kind of seminary. It is a prophetic school and not a rich one by any standard. The dormitories are so cramped that I feel claustrophobic. There are about seven students to one of these cubicles. I wonder how the students can pray and learn in such stuffy surroundings. However, as I pass one of the rooms, I discover that some of the students share my sentiments. A few of them decide to go and meet the Head Teacher, a renowned Prophet.
I follow them until they get to the room of the bald man. He has an intense personality and fervor burns in his eyes like undying fire. The students speak up. “Sir, our dormitories have become too small for us, we would like to build new quarters near the Jordan where there are plenty of logs”.
“Alright” he tells them, “go ahead”.
“Please Sir, come with us,” someone suggests.
“I will,” he says.
The next morning, they filed out in high spirits, singing and bound together by the twine of bonhomie. I follow them to the Jordan. The banks of the river are inundated with so much greenery; emerald adorned trees luxuriated majestically in the life-giving streams that lap at their feet. Their branches nod and acquiesce to the goodness of life. It is a beautiful place.
Then disaster strikes, as one of the students chop down the groaning trees, his axe head falls.
“Alas Sir, it was borrowed!” he cries to the Prophet.
From his patched robe; I can see he is about the most indigent of them all. I identify with his pain. It is amazing how things completely go awry in our lives sometimes, even with strong prophetic backing. The Prophet had given his word and also went with them, yet disaster occurred. The student is left holding a piece of useless stump while the most important thing he needed had drowned. It is reminiscent of my own life. It seems I am left holding nothing while my dreams and aspirations have been submerged in the roaring rivers of life. The brother feels useless and confused. He cannot work; he cannot buy another axe head. He is stuck like me. Losing that axe head is like losing everything. He and I are members of an incompetent fraternity.
I stand there mesmerized watching the unfolding scene before me while the river ripples and gurgles like a happy child, oblivious to the drama unfurling on its banks.
The Prophet goes to him with alacrity and asks, “Where did it fall?”
The absurdity of the question struck me as hilarious, what did it matter? It is not as if there is advanced technology and ultrasonic waves that can locate the metal and maybe retrieve it. I want to leave because the man is an eccentric but I am held by the fire in those eyes. The serious air with which he approached the issue held me spell-bound.
The student points to the location and the man of God throws a stick onto the water and the axe head floats. The axe head floats! Metals never float!
The Prophet tells the young man to grab the metal head. I am stunned. It is a miracle. By some supernatural intervention the laws of floatation were reversed. As the student hugged the Prophet in euphoric exuberance, I was hurled back to the present.
As I wondered what all that meant to my present condition, I heard the words screaming in my spirit, “Your axe head will float again”. I asked what that actually meant in the here and now and I heard “there shall be total restoration!!!”
As I prayed I got a revelatory knowledge that the Prophet applied the floating characteristic of the stick to the metal. There was some kind of supernatural transference. Having that revelation made me apply the resurrected life of the Christ to my dead and buried situations. Boy! I prayed that morning!
Believe it or not, my axe heads floated and I grabbed them! My dad is doing well and uses a walker; he is still on the way to total recovery. My wife had a set of twin girls a couple of months back, IyanuniagbaraOluwa (miraculous is the power of God) and IteOluwakiisi (the throne of God can never be moved). Based on my dealings with my previous partners, a new line of business came up and I was made the major distributor in Africa. I was also able to link them to some major properties in Nigeria as a middle man. My sister got married down the line and has a beautiful child. That bill board was right. Life is indeed beautiful.
The story of the floating axe head is in 2 Kings 6.
© 2013 Ekpo Ezechinyere