After caring for my five and six-year-old grandsons for a week in June, I was struck by similarities between myself and Jakob the Younger. The boy lives life impulsively. He barrels through the house on a quest for a toy, a chase, a treat without regard for his surroundings. During one outing to IKEA, his busy hands knocked over some dishes with catastrophic results, and he was devastated because he didn’t mean to! Over a two-day period, he slipped on a wet surface twice, smacking himself on the back of his head and on the knees. He also bit his finger really hard feeding himself Fruit Loops, and not only bruised it badly, but loosened a tooth. We prayed for each injury, and he bounced back, celebrating his loose tooth as a sign of progress. He did, however, wonder why he had so many accidents.
I can relate, Jakob. In my journey, I focus on a goal but often pay a price for my inattentiveness to the details.
Recently, I visited my mother and sister in Texas. Ordinarily I put license and boarding pass in a sheet protector for easy access, but since I could not print the pass, I put the license in my left front pocket and checked frequently. On the approach to the door of the DFW airport, the license was missing. We realized that this flight may not happen. My Sis was checking with our last stop at Cracker Barrel, and we backtracked to the car as I was silently praying, “O, Lord, help me in my weakness,” and there was the license, right by the car in the parking lot! After the flight, I realized my van battery was dead at Groome Transportation. No worries; I called AAA, except that my membership had expired (did not see that memo) and I had to re-up on the phone. I was close by a cold drink and a restroom and found out that the Groome people would have jump started me. Oh, well, I knew I would need AAA again, and I did, three weeks later for the next battery fail, which meant a new battery. God’s faithfulness, again.
The following week, I was buzzing around putting items in place to be gone for a couple of months — packing up my classroom, organizing my home, putting items in storage, and preparing for the summer in both the South and the Rocky Mountains. The day before I left, an intense storm hit my neighborhood, flipping yard furniture, dropping a tree on the electric lines, and ripping the utility boxes off the house. As service was being restored the next day (the day I needed to leave), I misplaced my cell phone, which does not work without a wireless antenna, run by electricity. The van was packed and ready to go. After searching all possibilities before unpacking, I drove to school to use the wireless and pull up “Find my Phone” on the iPad. It was in the cottage, so back to the house. By this time, the Diverse Power guy was in the process of connecting the house back to the lines on the street. He kindly loaned me his phone, and after SEVEN texts, all of which I could hear in the corner of the bedroom, I spied the cell next to the land phone which I had packed away on a closet shelf! Saved.
Mr. Diverse Power said he would have service back shortly, and I saw no reason for delay. Several lights needed to be turned off, but my main discovery was that the A/C had not automatically started. Without the unit running during the summer, my belongings in that little concrete dwelling would mold. Saved again, even through my foibles.
The most comical is probably the weekend that the Goose Family with six goslings came to visit my place. I was trying to be discreet and not bother them as I went in and out, so I was distracted and realized that the front door screen had locked me out! Not to worry. I remembered my brother’s gift of a Swiss Army knife in the glove box. Sure enough — a Phillips head screwdriver to remove the hinges from the door. After that, all I had to do was squeeze through the hinge side to unlock the screen.. Feeling good about my resourcefulness, I walked into the house and behold! The back door was open. I had slipped out the back to avoid startling the geese.
Over the past year, I lost my wedding ring when washing my hands at a rest stop on I-70 West, dropped my wallet out of my backpack in an airplane (which I recovered), misplaced innumerable items, let weeks go by without calling my adorable 90-year-old mother, and left my cell phone at a Qwik Trip in Woodstock and at school multiple times. The catalogue of fumbles is so long that I have forgotten many of them…
What remains is a deep sense of my flawed human condition and gratitude at the consistent, always present, faithfulness of God. He knows my weakness in details; as a result, I come repeatedly for His good memory and His endless mercy. This is only one area of my fallen nature, but one that keeps me dependent on God’s Promise:
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
2 Corinthians 12:9-10
Jakob and I have a lot in common. We wonder why we are prone to all these mishaps, but that doesn’t stop us from charging ahead, absolutely confident that God will catch us when we fall.