When we were young our mother used to teach us nursery rhymes. Some of them were traditional ones and some she made up. One of them went like this:
“I went to the animals’ zoo, the birds and the beasts were there.
The gay baboon by the light of the moon was combing her golden hair
The monkey fell out of his bunk right into the elephant’s trunk
The elephant sneezed ‘Achoo’ and fell on his knees
And what became of the monkey, monkey, monkey---“
When we asked her what happened to the monkey she told us that the sneeze was so powerful that the monkey was shot into the sky and landed on the moon. On a dark night when the moon was full she told us we could see the monkey in the moon.
Years later I remembered the power of the elephant’s, ‘Achoo’ while I was preparing my Sunday school lesson on the story of Elisha and the Shunamite’s son. The Shunamite woman was barren and Elisha had prayed for her and she was blessed with a son. One day when the boy was in the fields, working with his father he suddenly got a severe headache and was taken home to his mother. Shortly the boy died. The heart-broken mother ran to Mt. Carmel to Elisha’s and begged him to come home and see the boy. Elisha came and went to the room where the boy was laid.
The first thing Elisha did was to pray. He must have asked for God’s wisdom and power to deal with this situation. Then he lay over the boy, mouth to mouth, eye to eye, and hand to hand. Nothing happened. So he got up and walked around the room as he continued to pray. He again repeated the process. This time the boy stirred. Sneezed seven times and woke up.
Fifty years ago we children accepted the power of the elephant’s sneeze to propel the monkey into space and to the moon. It was a fairy tale, it was magic. But would my practical minded class accept the Biblical fact that the breath of a holy man made a boy to sneeze his way back to life from death? I had to find a way to explain it to them in a way that would help them believe it.
I started off by telling my class that in Christ all things are possible if we believe in Him, and if it is according to His will. The prophet Elisha believed and hence he prayed. When the boy did not revive the first time, Elisha prayed again. This time when he stretched himself on the boy the spirit of God entered the boy through Elisha. God’s spirit was so powerful that it pushed the spirit of death out of the boy with such force that he had to sneeze seven times (KJV). When the spirit of death was ejected from him the boy became alive.
I hope my class will accept my explanation of God’s miraculous healing of the Shunamite boy.
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