My Mother's father worked as a carpenter. On a particular day, he was building some crates for the clothes his church was sending to an orphanage in China. On his way home, he reached into his shirt pocket to find his glasses, but they were gone. When he mentally replayed his earlier actions, he realized what had happened; the glasses had slipped out of his pocket unnoticed and fallen into one of the crates, which he had nailed shut. His brand new glasses were heading for China!
The Great Depression was at it's height and Grandpa had six children. He had spent $20 for those glasses that very morning. He was upset by the thought of having to buy another pair. "It's not fair," he told God as he drove home in frustration. "I've been very faithful in giving of my time and money to your work, and now this."
Months later, the director of the orphanage was on furlough in the United States. He wanted to visit all the churches that supported him in China, so he came to speak one Sunday at my grandfather's small church in Chicago. The missionary began by thanking the people for their faithfulness in supporting the orphanage.
"But most of all," he said, "I must thank you for the glasses you sent last year. You see, the Communists had just swept through the orphanage, destroying everything, including my glasses. I was desperate. Even if I had the money, there was simply no way of replacing those glasses. Along with not being able to see well, I experienced headaches every day, so my co-workers and I were much in prayer about this.
Then your crates arrived. When my staff removed the covers, they found a pair of glasses lying on top."
The missionary paused long enough to let his words sink in. Then, still gripped with the wonder of it all, he continued, "Folks, when I tried on the glasses, it was as though they had been custom made just for me! I want to thank you for being a part of that."
The people listened, happy for the miraculous glasses. But the missionary surely must have confused their church with another, they thought. There were no glasses on their list of items to be sent overseas. But sitting quietly in the back, with tears streaming down his face, an ordinary carpenter realized the Master Carpenter had used him in an extraordinary way.
There are times we want to blame God instead of thanking Him! Perhaps it is something we ought to try more often: "Thank you God for not allowing my car to start this morning." He may have been saving your life from a car accident.
"God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
- - - - - - - Phil 4:19
How God Answers Us
"I don't believe God ever tells us 'no'. He has three answers for us."
- Or - Not right now.
- Or - I have something better in mind, just be patient.
Kids. Question Marks or Periods?
Little kids are so creative and imaginative. As they grow from 2 to 3, and 3 to 4 years old, though years 5, 6, and 7, they come up with some awesome and astounding questions.
"Daddy, why is the sky blue?" Mommy, why are you crying at that movie you're watching? "Billy, why does the sand stick to your fingers when you make a sand castle, is there glue in it."
Then we send them to school, to learn about stuff, life, knowledge, and getting along in society.
Kids start out life as a Question Mark. And end up as a Period.
But then, years later, as young adults, they finish their formal education and head off into the work world, joining companies large and small, the government, or other organizations.
And somewhere in that mix, they hear their leadership and outside motivational speakers talk about change management. And the new world, things are different. "We must be on the cutting edge."
And that means moving "beyond your paradigms", and "thinking out of the box", and being "an entrepreneurial thinker."
Wow - how can they do that after years of being changed from Question Marks to Periods?
A Child Shall Lead Them
Wishing to encourage her young son's progress on the piano,
a mother took her boy to a Ignacy Jan Paderewski piano
concert. After they were seated, the mother spotted a friend
in the audience and walked down the aisle to greet her.
Seizing the opportunity to explore the wonders of the
concert hall, the little boy rose and eventually explored
his way through a door marked "NO ADMITTANCE."
When the house lights dimmed and the concert was about to begin, the mother returned to her seat and discovered her son was missing.
Suddenly, the curtains parted and spotlights focused on the impressive Steinway on stage. In horror, the mother saw her little boy was sitting at the keyboard, innocently picking out "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star." At that moment, the great piano master made his entrance, quickly moved to the piano, and whispered in the boy's ear, "Don't quit. Keep playing."
Then, leaning over, Paderewski reached down with his left hand and began filling in a bass part. Soon his right arm reached around to the other side of the child and he added a running obligato. Together, the old master and the young novice transformed a frightening situation into a wonderfully creative experience. The audience was so mesmerized they couldn't recall what else the great master played. Only the classic "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."