‘And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.’ – Jer. 29:13 NKJV
Last Monday was a very special day. Well everyday pretty much is special, but on this particular day I had the opportunity of witnessing as some dear friends, who had made the decision, were water baptized. If you know me, I love the moment a person get’s water baptised! It marks the beginning of such a powerful chapter of their lives. It was such an honor to be present and to cheer them on and generally to celebrate the day with them and other people from our wonderful Church family.
While preparing food to take to this occasion, I called my friend who was also making arrangements for food for the occasion to check how far along she was and if everything was going well. She answered the call after a few rings and commented that she had indeed already finished and was trying to put together some furniture she had bought from IKEA earlier in the week. ‘Oh nice’, I said. But she was not of the same opinion and commented on how she needed to have purchased a ‘good’ screw driver to put the structure together. I found that quite odd, I had bought a bed-side table from IKEA earlier that week as well and had been so impressed with the whole thing, especially the fact that they added a cute screw driver that worked perfectly with all the screws provided. My table had come together really nicely and I considered myself quite the expert ‘assembler’ though truthfully that credit actually goes to the shop for making my set-up so easy. So, I asked my friend, ‘wait! are you sure? I don’t think they’d be so sloppy as not to put in the required device, you know?’. My friend insisted that there was no screw driver in the package and was quite frustrated because now she would have to wait till the next day, as this day in question was a holiday, to buy this required item. To cut things short, I went to my bedroom, picked up the small device, took a picture and sent it to her right away. At this she started laughing and I quickly understood why when she sent a follow up picture of the same device, this time in her hand. I started laughing too, and before I knew it, I was saying, ‘You know this is very much like many Christians’.
How so? I explain.
My friend much like many people, had willingly skipped a very important step. ‘I don’t look at the manuals’, she had said while laughing. She had ignored the manual that came with the package and gone ahead to put it together, after all these were just simple pieces of wood, and their screws, easy to put together, why would one need a whole lecture showing how to do it? The simple answer is however that, had she just taken a simple glance through that ‘manual’, she would have realized that, that simple piece of device in there was actually the most important part of the whole set-up.
Us humans and this life journey are pretty much like the furniture my dear friend ordered. It is very new, foreign and unknown from day-to-day. When we think it all figured out, it shows up with facets that look familiar at the outset but leaves us frustrated as we try to apply yesterday’s methods. There is always something new that leaves us baffled in the present or even when cocksure of the present, totally at sea on the next step. How do we maneuver this, or that? How do we handle this challenge or that? How do we stay sane in a world that is constantly throwing uncertainties at us?
The good news is that, even better than IKEA, the designer of this life is extremely thoughtful and loving and does not leave us to ‘go figure’. We also are endowed with a ‘manual’ and as well several ‘tools’ with which to put it all together ‘WELL’ and without the unnecessary stress and frustration.
Ever so often, reading the manual, ‘the Bible’, seems so cumbersome even without opening it and as for the tools, they just, well, look weird. How do I pray? What is worship? Why should I fast? Why should I go to Church if all that’s going to happen is a long dragged out ‘speech’ and the pastor going on to take ‘MY’ money? Why should I serve? And on and on we go on to throw aside the important tools and go to spend even more time and money on the ‘professional and powerful’ tool from elsewhere (buying special anointing oils, special rings and handkerchiefs, paying money to ‘special’ persons to pray for us, etc, all the while having the very tools we need right in our hands. If we’d only open up the manual!
If we’d ONLY open up our Bibles and find that it’s not just a weird collection of stories and books from loooong long ago but that those words in there are very alive and very relevant today and are our very guide to maneuvering this life and all it’s apparent complexities.
‘Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.’ – Psalm 119:105