Elisha and the unlucky skydiver

September 5, 2006

A couple of weeks ago, I shared this video with the kids:

Something we’ve been doing more regularly as a family is reading the Bible together. It is fun to get into the Bible the way it used to be read: out loud. I have a lot of experience reading stories out loud, from before we even had kids: early in our marriage, I read The Hobbit and the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy out loud to Kay. So now I read the Bible that way, and The Message translation is particularly well-suited for that.

Tonight, we read the story of Elisha and the Shunammite woman. One thing that struck me was that Elisha was genuinely puzzled at God’s silence—he didn’t know what was going on, and even when he did he wasn’t quite sure what to do. I asked, “Elisha is used to hearing God. I wonder why was God silent in this case?”

Leading questions are a useful teaching tool. But this was not a leading question. It was more like an un-Bible study question, because I didn’t have an answer.

When I asked the question in the middle of the story, Erin (age 8) said, “Who cares! This is just a story that took place thousands of years ago.”

“That’s true,” I said, “but it’s still important today because as much as we try to hear God, sometimes he is silent.” I continued reading, and we finished the story. But I raised the question again, because it bugged me: “Why was God silent to Elisha, of all people?”

Erin replied, “Maybe God wanted him to figure something out on his own. Like that guy falling without a parachute—the instructors wanted him to learn what to do in that situation.

Wow.

Jon Reid

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As an American missionary kid who grew up in Japan, I'm a child of two cultures, while not fully belonging to either. This gives me a sightly different view of the world.

2 responses to Elisha and the unlucky skydiver

  1. Except that the instructors didn’t intend or desire for their student to learn that lesson on his own…and to top that off, the student is no longer going to jump. His faith in the sport of sky diving is gone. Is that what God is doing to us?

  2. What do you think, Yellow?