A couple of mornings ago, at 12:58 AM, my phone made a sound like it does when the doorbell at the church is rang. Naturally, I was asleep. Because of my job, when my phone makes noises in the middle of the night, I wake up and the adrenaline kicks in...I can’t just ignore it and go back to sleep.
So I picked up my phone and opened the Ring app. It didn’t show any new rings or motion alerts since late that afternoon. So I checked the security cameras and, long story short (too late!), nobody was around the building.
It turns out that the doorbell was letting me know that the battery was only at 22% charge and needed to be charged soon! Ugh! But, as I mentioned, adrenaline had kicked in and, try as I might, I could not go back to sleep. Around 3:00 AM, I decided to see if watching an old movie would help me get back to sleep...so I went to the living room and started watching “Back to the Future” (I hate the fact that I just called a movie released when I was a junior in high school “old”).
As I watched I noticed something I don’t think I had noticed all the times I had watched the movie in the past. When Marty goes back to 1955, he crashes into the Peabody’s barn. When the Peabody family comes out to investigate, the father sees the DeLorean and says it must be an “aero-plane”! The son quickly corrects his father by saying, “That ain’t no aero-plane, look,” and shows his dad the cover of a comic book with a spaceship and aliens on it. Marty gets out of the car in a radiation suit and everybody screams.
The family runs out and, when Marty steps out of the barn without the radiation mask on, the boy tells his father, “Shoot it! Its already mutating into human form!” His father then proceeds to empty his shotgun in Marty’s general direction.
This made me start to think (lengthening my insomnia) about so many things today. So often we react before we know all the facts. We hear about something that happened and react before all the details are known.
Sometimes it is the one who “knows” and is telling others about it who desires a specific reaction, from those others...and often gets the desired response because those others don’t want to wait for all the facts to be discovered.
With social media being such a big part of our lives today, many times “news” items spread quickly...before all the facts come out. People get upset and say and, sometimes, do things that they may regret later.
In Acts 17:11 we are told the Bereans were excited by Paul’s message of the gospel, but that they examined the Scriptures daily to make sure it was the truth.
Perhaps it would do us all good if, when we hear about something in “real time” that happened, we take a step back and wait for all the facts to be unveiled before we offer our opinion...to make sure it is the truth!
This Sunday is Father’s Day. A day set aside to honor dear old dad. A day when gifts and hugs are given freely. A day when we treat our dads like they should be treated all year.
It is a day that takes on even more meaning when your dad is no longer with you. This is my third such Father’s Day and, well, let’s just say there are times when I just miss my Dad.
I was blessed to have one of the all-time great Dads in history (I won’t say he was the greatest, because I don’t want to start an argument, but he was!). He set an exceptional example of what a father is supposed to be.
Unfortunately for many children, their father is no longer with them, not because he passed away but because he chooses not to be with them. He either walked away from his wife and children or, well, he walked away because he and the mother were never married and her getting pregnant just doesn’t fit with his plan.
Either way and for whatever “reasons” most of the time these children miss out on something very special...a relationship with their father (there are a few exceptions to every rule, though).
My heart aches for these children. Children who will never experience the joy of having a father who loves them and would do just about anything for them...or can they?
This Sunday is Father’s Day, but in all truth, EVERY Sunday is Father’s Day (and every other day for that matter). No matter how good or bad or absent their earthly father is, they have a Heavenly Father who loves them so much that He sent His One and Only Son to earth to die for them.
So on this Father’s Day, I urge you to spend some time thinking about those children whose earthly father has failed them. Then take some action to make sure those children know that they have a Heavenly Father who will NEVER fail them!
A few months ago, or it may have been a few years ago, I told you about acquiring one of those round vacuums that finds its way around the house picking up stuff.
Well, we recently remembered that we had this wonderful device (we’d put it away at Christmas and, well, just hadn’t gotten it back out). So, we put it on its charger and everything seemed to be fine.
Then we tried to get it to work. We pressed the start button and...nothing. So a little while later, being the mechanically gifted person that I am, I took my screwdriver and started unscrewing things.
The first thing I unscrewed turned out to be a part of the waste storage (yes, I had emptied it before...but there were a couple of screws so…). It turns out “Bob” as we call it, because the company named it “Bob”, had inhaled a small piece of quarter round (no, we hadn’t noticed it was missing).
I figured that had to be the problem. So I tightened the screws and...nothing.
So I started unscrewing more screws. I’d take about 5 out and was trying to get the thing apart when I saw something I had forgotten about. On the side was a little switch that said “on/off” and it was in the “off” position.
I put all the screws back in and, would you believe it, when I flipped the switch to on...it worked perfectly!
It’s so strange: the solution was right there in front of me. All I needed to do was look...but instead I decided to pursue a more complicated solution - that might have actually made the problem worse if I’d kept on trying!
So often, in life, when we face problems, we immediately start looking for the complex solution...a process that, at times, does make our problems worse.
What we really need to do is simply look for the simple solution. Often times that simple solution is right in front of us: in black and white and (sometimes) red.
God created us. He is fully aware of the problems and trials that we face. Fortunately He has provided us with the simple solutions. All we need to do is read them and learn from them.
Lean on God; listen to God; learn from God.
Epilogue: What I learned from “Bob” this week is that there is no problem that is so simple that it cannot be made more complex by me wielding a screwdriver!
Those who seem to know about things are telling us that we need to just accept a “new normal” because of the COVID-19 virus. That this “new normal” involves things like social distancing, wearing a face covering of some sort, and very limited physical contact (if any at all) with those outside of your immediate family.
They say that if you don’t abide by these “new normal” standards then you are being selfish. One person I know on social media even said you were not being a Christian if you don’t just accept these new rules for what is “normal.”
I don’t think so! First, there may be some changes to how we do things, but there is really nothing new about change.
In the beginning God spoke directly to the patriarch of the family. Then God spoke directly to Moses and provided a “new” law for His people. Then God communicated with priests, then prophets, and, finally, He sent Jesus.
Once Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, He gave His disciples a commission, a Great Commission. He told them to tell everyone everywhere the saving message of the gospel.
So the disciples started in Jerusalem, then in Judea and Samaria, and then to the ends of the earth to tell others about God’s love for them. A few wrote biographies of Jesus’ life, several wrote letters that have been preserved for us that communicates God’s will for our lives.
So what is my point? That change is nothing new. While God Himself has never changed, He did change the way He revealed His will for mankind. So we can change the way we interact with each other.
While some of the more “extreme” changes will hopefully not last (like the frowning upon even a handshake as too much “physical contact”), perhaps these momentary changes to our “normal” will help us in a lasting way, that will make “normal” better.
Maybe we’ll hold that handshake or hug a little longer...perhaps it will be a little more sincere even. Maybe we’ll not take assembling together for worship for granted. Maybe we’ll enjoy fellowship outside of our assembly times more often. Maybe we’ll start to look for reasons to come together with our Christian family, rather than using any and every excuse to stay apart.
And maybe, just maybe, we’ll understand and appreciate the urgency of Jesus’ commission to go into all the world and make disciples of all nations...maybe even making disciples in our own neighborhood!