Monday, February 15, 2010

On Scummy Pond

Years ago, we lived on the lake. When we bought the house, some of our friends and family laughed at us, and a few even asked if we'd lost our minds. Undaunted by dilapidation and disrepair, we believed it was where we were destined to live for that season, so we ignored our critics and moved in to what eventually became our lovely home.

Next door, an eccentric old man sometimes ventured outside in his underwear, but otherwise, our lake life was idyllic. The neighbor's roosters awakened us in the morning, and crickets, frogs and owls bid us sweet dreams at night. We were surrounded by the sounds of nature's music and it was a brilliant symphony to behold.

During our lake years, I developed something of a love/hate relationship with the geese that seemed especially attracted to our pier and yard. They were interesting to observe, but they left unpleasant reminders of their daily visits that sometimes wound up squished into the tread of my sneakers. Despite the messy mementos left behind once they tired of their visit to our property however, I couldn't bring myself to shoo them away.

One clear, autumn morning while driving my kids to school, I noticed that a pond along the way was completely covered with scum. The water appeared stagnant, and it stunned me to see a family of geese swimming there. I remember thinking, "You crazy birds can fly! What in the world are you doing in that nasty pond when the lake is so close by?"

Sadly, I've been like those geese a time or two. I've settled for less than what God has to offer for my life, choosing to swim in scummy ponds rather than sparkling waters. Worse still, I've limited Him, occasionally even doubting His ability to overcome my personal inadequacies and weaknesses.

Today's passages, 2 Kings 12 through 14 and 2 Chronicles 24 and 25, cover a period of time in Israel's history where there were opportunities for God's people to witness His limitless power--yet their lack of faith and disobedience kept them in turmoil, and more often than not, left them defeated by the enemies surrounding them.

Particularly interesting to me is the occasion of King Jehoash's visit to the prophet Elisha as he lay on his deathbed. The king, realizing that the one man who had a direct line of communication with God was about to die, wanted some reassurance. Elisha instructed the king to do something that may sound a little strange to us, but at the time was very significant. He told the king to open the east window and shoot an arrow out, and after doing so, Elisha explained that it symbolized the "Lord's arrow of victory over Aram...". Next, he told the king to shoot the other arrows and strike them against the ground. But instead of shooting all of them, the king only shot three of the arrows.

The Bible doesn't tell us why the king only shot three arrows. Maybe he thought the whole thing was silly--I don't know--but what it does say is that Elisha was angry and explained that if the king had shot ALL of the arrows, he would have been given complete victory instead of partial success.

Like those geese in the scummy pond, King Jehoash settled for less than what could have been. Have I done the same? Have you? What is God willing to do in our lives that we've been too blind or stubborn to see? Is there anything we've missed?

Lord, refresh us with Living Water and help us obediently shoot every arrow that you provide so that we never limit what you would do in and through us. You are limitless and able and we are grateful and amazed. In Jesus' Name. Amen.


  1. And we loved it when you visited, Sharon! Oh the sweet, sweet memories of you giggling girls at the lake.

  2. I remember your lake house! I remember one Disciple Now weekend where our group stayed down in your basement...that was a lot of fun!

  3. Emily, that was probably the same time the roof leaked upstairs! Ah the memories!