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Swimming Iron and Sinking Peter

by C. H. Spurgeon
From the March 1866 Sword and Trowel

Spurgeon

"The iron did swim."—2 Kings 6:9.
THE AXE-HEAD SEEMED hopelessly lost, and as it was borrowed, the honor of the prophetic band was likely to be imperiled, and so the name of their God to be compromised. Contrary to all expectation, the iron was made to mount from the depth of the stream and to swim; for things impossible with man are possible with God. I knew a man in Christ but a few years ago who was called to undertake a work far exceeding his strength. It appeared so difficult as to involve absurdity in the bare idea of attempting it. Yet he was called thereto, and his faith rose with the occasion; God honored his faith, unlooked for aid was sent, and the iron did swim. Another of the Lord's family was in grievous financial straits, he was able to meet all claims and much more if he could have realized a certain portion of his estate, but he was overtaken with a sudden pressure; he sought to friends in vain, but faith led him to the unfailing Helper, and lo, the trouble was averted, his footsteps were enlarged, and the iron did swim. A third had a sorrowful case of depravity to deal with. He had taught, reproved, warned, invited and interceded, but all in vain. Old Adam was too strong for young Melancthon, the stubborn spirit would not relent. Then came an agony of prayer, and before long a blessed answer was sent from heaven. The hard heart was broken, the iron did swim.
    Beloved reader, what is thy desperate case? What heavy matter hast thou in hand? Bring it hither. The God of the prophets lives, and lives to help his saints. Believe thou in the Lord of hosts! Approach him pleading the name of Jesus, and the iron shall swim; thou too shalt see the finger of God working marvels for his people. According to thy faith shall it be unto thee, and yet again the iron shall swim.

"Beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me."—Matt. 14:30.

    Sinking times are praying times with the Lords servants. Peter neglected prayer at starting upon his venturous journey, but when he began to sink his danger made him a suppliant, and his cry though late was not too late. In our hours of bodily pain and mental anguish, we find ourselves as naturally driven to prayer, as the wreck is driven upon the shore by the waves. The fox hides to its hole for protection; the bird flies to the wood for shelter; and even so the tried believer hastens to the mercy seat for safety. Heaven's great harbor of refuge is All-prayer; thousands of weather-beaten vessels have found a haven there, and the moment a storm comes on, it is wise for us to make for it with all sail.
    Short prayers are long enough. There were but three words in the petition which Peter gasped out, but they were sufficient for his purpose, they reached the ear of Jesus and his heart too. Not length but strength is desirable. A sense of need is a mighty teacher, of brevity. If our prayers had less of the tail feathers of pride and more wing they would be all the better. Verbiage is to devotion as chaff to the wheat. Precious things lie in small compass, and all that is real prayer in many a long address might have been uttered in a sentence as short as that which burst from the soul of the sinking apostle.
    Our extremities are the Lord's opportunities. Immediately a keen sense of danger forces an anxious cry from us the ear of Jesus hears, and with him ear and heart go together, and the hand does not long linger. At the last moment we appeal to our Master, but his swift hand makes up for our delays by instant and effectual action. Are we nearly engulfed by the boisterous waters of affliction? let us then lift up our souls unto our Savior, and we may rest assured that he will not suffer us to perish. When we can do nothing Jesus can do all things; let us enlist his powerful aid upon our side, and all will be well.

C. H. S.

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