Thursday, July 17, 2008

Not the sharpest tool in the shed...

I'm sure, at one time or another, you've all heard the old saying "he's not the sharpest tool in the shed" and if not, you've probably heard something similar. Maybe "he's one taco short of a combination plate" or "he's a few fries short of a happy meal".  Cody, my son who works at In-N-Out Burger might say something like, "Dad, you're two patties short of a double-double!" My all time favorite though is the one my old college roommate, Paul Hamilton, used to sarcastically chide me with quite often. He used to say, "Russ, you're about as sharp as the leading edge of a meatball!" If you picture in your mind the typical meatball I don't think sharp is the first thing that comes to mind... Each of these sayings implies that we just aren't all there or we're off base just a little. The bottom line for me here is that I think all of these sayings, (and any others like them that you can think of), can be used to describe everyone of us when comparing our own knowledge of our future to what God actually has in store for our lives.

Everyone of us, including me, goes through life with plans and dreams of what the future will hold, and that's a good thing. The problem most of us run into is we overlook the fact that God is in charge and the plan that He has for our lives is usually quite different than the plan we picture in our minds. There are two absolute truths to this. No matter how hard we try, our plan will never be perfect and God's plan is perfect in every sense of the word. We may not think it is so perfect when we're going through difficult times but that's where trusting God comes in. Robyn and I have found that trusting God is an ongoing learning process and it builds on itself as we go through life. The times we learn the most about trust is during the trials of life when we run to God for comfort, strength and hope. Doesn't that make sense? We trust Him most when we are closest to Him. 
Consider what God says to us in 2 Corinthians 12:9, "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness", and in Romans 8: 24,25, "...Who hopes for what he already has? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently". Just in those two verses alone I think you'll agree that God wants us to learn and strengthen our trust in Him through life's trials. Every trial can reveal comfort, strength and hope as long as we open our eyes and seek out what God wants to teach us. I'll be the first to admit that its easy to say this but a very difficult thing to live out in my daily life. I've certainly had my share of dark days recently. But, in this moment of transparency, I can tell you that the more I pray, the more I read, the more I listen, and the more I let go, the closer I get to God and the more I trust Him. 
One of my all time favorite verses is Jeremiah 18:6, "...Like clay in the hand of the potter, so are you in my hand..." I believe that God doesn't want to control us or our lives nor does he try to make life difficult by throwing road blocks in front of us. But, He does want us to trust Him and to allow ourselves to be molded and perfected by His hands. 
Picture in your mind a hunk of clay on a potter's wheel spinning around all shapeless and off balance. Do you see God at the wheel shaping and forming a perfect masterpiece? In my mind's eye, I see God at the wheel, the wheel is spinning as fast as it can, there's little bits of clay flying everywhere and there's even a bead of sweat on God's brow. You see, God isn't done with me yet, but He's working feverishly to make me perfect.