By Alex Day
December 8th, 2019
Have you ever really wanted something and not gotten and wondered why God did not provide it? Some of the greatest blessings that I have received from God are the things that he did not give me. Or did not give them to me in the time that I wanted them.
Yesterday I was putting up Christmas lights. One of the tools that I had for this project was a hammer. I had strung the first set of lights a week earlier, but neither Tammy nor I liked the color of the lights that I put up the first time, so we purchased new lights to match the icicle lights we had on the deck.
As I was hanging the lights on the stakes that I had driven along the driveway earlier, the new lights were heavier and I needed to drive some of the stakes deeper into the ground. I went and retrieved my hammer from my truck and went to drive the stake in deeper. Then I had the idea to test the lights before I continued hanging them. So I put the hammer down and went to plug them in to test them. Of course, upon the first test, one of the sections of lights did not work. I spent the next 10 minutes trouble shooting to get the lights working. This involved pulling my truck down so I could plug the lights below the failure point into the electrical outlet on my truck to see what the extent of the problem was.
Well now it is time to drive the stakes into the ground and continue hanging the lights. I went to retrieve the hammer to continue the effort. I went to the truck, as I thought I had put the hammer in the floor board. No hammer. I went to where I had plugged the lights in. No hammer. I went to where the failure point was that I was working on. No hammer.
I am 50 years old. For most people this is not considered "really old". It is certainly not an age where there would be an expectation of complete memory collapse. I walked up and down our long driveway (it is about 300 feet long) looking for the hammer. There are leaves on the ground and I have set things down before, and the broken pattern of the leaves can make it really difficult to find things. I walked up to the house. I walked to the guest house. Now keep in mind that it had only been 10 or the most 15 minutes that I had just set the hammer down.
After about 10 minutes of searching I attempted to divert the frustration to contemplation. "Ok, Lord, what am I supposed to learn about this". I try to do this on occasion. Just pray and ask the Lord what I am supposed to learn from an experience. I continued looking and the clock ticked by. Ten minutes, fifteen minutes, twenty minutes, and no hammer. I thought how the Lord can hide physical objects if he wants to. I thought about how he can reveal physical objects if he wants to. And I thought about how little factors can have a huge impact on our lives. Could this time I am burning, making the timing right for something? If I had hammered the stake in and fixed the lights on my timeline, could something bad have happened to me? A multitude of thoughts went through my mind.
In my Christian walk it has taken me a long time to trust. Ok, lets be completely honest. I am still learning to trust him. My intellect gets in the way a lot. This whole concept of God is sometimes really difficult to deal with from an intellectual standpoint. The world and particularly the scientific world, tries to tell us how ridiculous the thought of a supreme being is. We evolved from the primordial goo. There is no design. There is no loving God behind this. We just happened to be here.
I don't believe that we are an accident. I believe that there is a God. I believe that Jesus Christ was sent by God to share with the world His love and his presence and that he cares about us in real time. So back to my hammer. Where had it gone? Why couldn't I find it? This thought of God hiding things from us fascinates me. How with an intimate knowledge of the mind, it would be easy to hide things. And perhaps this was one of those times where timing for me is important today. I needed something to "reset" my time line for the day.
This timing has been important to me before. It has been important on this very driveway. Several years ago we had an ice storm. There were several limbs that had fallen over the driveway. I got out my chain saw to cut the limbs and get them out of the way. I cranked and cranked on the chain saw and it would not start. I started getting frustrated. While I was standing there trying to get the chain saw started, another very large limb fell directly on the spot I would have been standing to cut the limb I was preparing to work on. Had the chain saw started when I wanted it to, there is a high likelihood that I would have been injured, or even killed. I was pretty dumbfounded as to what happened. I put the chain saw up and went back into the house, and came back later to deal with the limbs.
Was this another one of those times? Well this story doesn't end with the revelation for why I couldn't find my hammer. As I continued to contemplate God and his goodness, I continued to look for my hammer. I wondered, is it going to be in a place I had looked over time and time again, suddenly revealed? Well that was not how I found it. After about thirty five minutes I expanded my search to the opposite side of the driveway from where the lights were, and….there it was. I can't tell you why I couldn't find my hammer. It may simply have been because I have a bad memory. I didn’t pay attention. But it could have been a small part, or even a really big part of God's plan for me. It would be nice to say that by resetting my timeline for that day, that I avoided a personal catastrophe, but I can't say that. That does not mean that it is not true, but it was not for me to know. I do know that little decisions, little actions, can have huge impacts on our lives. Which way we drive home, when our chain saw starts and when it doesn't, all of these things can impact our lives. I believe that God looks out for us. I believe that He cares about us and seeks what is best for us, and can make little nudges at times to help us stay on track.