A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dave's Deep Thoughts - The Beauty of Fake Snow

Here's Pastor Dave McDowell's weekly devotional that he sends out to members of his church. Dave is my brother and serves as the Music Minister at Stewartstown UMC in PA. 
You may have heard it said,
"Be careful what you pray for,
you just might get it!"
But what if you get it in the wrong location?
I love snow.
I love snowy winters.
I live in a part of the country
where we often get
cold, wet winters.
Each November,
my heart foolishly races with excitement as I anticipate snowfalls.
By the end of February,
I am usually wallowing in a sea of muddy disappointment.
This winter has been no different.
Storm after storm have missed us.
pounding nearby regions with blizzards and historic snowfalls.
Meanwhile, we have been teased with a few dustings of snow.
Since I haven't been able to spend my time sledding and building snowmen,
I decided to do the next best thing....
renovate my guest bathroom.
Nothing yells winter spirit
like drywalling, grouting, and plumbing.
The project has been drawn out
as I have tried to find spare time
to work on the renovation.
Last weekend,
I had the unusual opportunity of two uninterrupted days
which I earmarked to work on the bathroom.
Although there was a historic winter storm crossing the country,
forecasters were saying that we were going
to receive our usual dose of 36 degrees and cold rain.
When you are given lemons, make lemonade.
When you are given a crappy weather day, I say, make home renovations.
I planned to get a lot done in 48 hours.
It started with shower frame installation..
I pulled the parts out of the box
and slowly began to assemble them.
With great excitement, I placed the base of the frame
onto the shower basin.
Now I am not an expert craftsman by any means,
but I do know enough to know that if the shower frame measures 36"
that is not good news when you have a 42" shower basin.
After 45 minutes of trying to figure out
how my daily shower would not be a reenactment of the Johnstown flood,
I decided that the store had made a mistake in the order.
Off to the store.
2 hours later,
I had returned the shower wall frame,
and the store ordered the correct shower wall frame.
I was cheerfully told that the correct frame would arrive in 10-14 days.
As a child I learned
when plan A doesn't work,
go to Plan B.....
that would be tiling the shower wall.
I open the tile box
anxious to see once again the exquisite tile that I had picked.
The tiles were cracked.
Off to the evil empire of a store once again.
As my luck would have it,
they cheerfully told me they didn't have enough of that particular tile in stock,
but they could get it from a neighboring store in 24 hours.

As a child I learned
when plan B doesn't work,
go to Plan C.....
that would be sanding down the remaining drywall mudding.
We all have lists of things we dislike......
taking out the garbage,
scraping blackboards with fingernails,
Chinese water torture,

High on my list is sanding, drywall, and mudding.
It's tedious,
It's time consuming,
and it's dusty,
very dusty.
By the time that I got to Plan C,
forecasters were still calling for dreary rain.
I turned on the work light,
donned my mask
and started to sand.
5 hours into my day,
I was not in a particularly good mood.
That was,
until I looked out my small octagonal bathroom window.
snowing rather steadily.
Could it be that the forecasters were finally wrong?
I went back to sanding
as I sang a muffled rendition of Jingle Bells under my mask.
My day had been a disaster thus far,
but now it was snowing!
Every so often,
I would glance out the window.
The snow kept coming down.
The spirit of Jack Frost had invaded my guest bathroom,
and this little elf kept working
as if Christmas was only days away.
Three hours later,
I had finished the sanding.
Darkness was descending and
I had had enough for one day.
I anticipated that the disaster day would end
with a long, hot shower,
a hot meal,
and a cup of hot cocoa
as I sat beside the fire
and watched the snow fall.
I went to the front door to see how much snow had accumulated.
I opened the door expecting to be blasted by winter's fury.
No snow.
Not one flake,
How could that be?
It had been snowing for hours.
I went back into the guest bathroom
and looked out the window once again.
The work light that I had been using
had created a reflection on the small window pane
of the dust that I had created while sanding.
It only appeared to be snowing.
I had been tricked.
No Jack Frost,
No bobsleds.
No chestnuts roasting on a open fire.
All I had was drywall dust in my ears
and mud on my face.
we are deceived in this life.
What we think is real, is not.
It might be a snowstorm that is merely a reflection,
a relationship that wasn't what it appeared to be at first,
a counterfeit twenty dollar bill,
a job opportunity that never materializes,
an bogus online business transaction.
Life is filled with deceptions,
but we can be sure that deceit is never
an activity of God.
For those who place their trust in God,
God can and does deliver us
from deceptions and ultimately uses the circumstance for good.
Ask Joseph when he was in the pit before he rose to be ruler of Egypt,
or Noah when it seemed like the rain would never stop, and yet he was key in God's re-creation,
or Paul as he was imprisoned, but would soon see the prison doors fall away,
or Jesus, who hung on the cross in agony, only to soon rip the keys of life out of Satan's crooked hands.
As I took my shower,
I began to think about the the pretend snow.
Actually it had snowed.
It just snowed in my guest bathroom.
And because I thought it was snowing outside,
I was able to finish a very disliked task
with a lot more energy.
I might not get the snowfall that I wanted,
but I will soon have the bathroom completed that I need for my home.
That's how God works.
He takes His children from deceptive situations
and delivers them to where they need to be.
You can come visit my new guest bathroom anytime.
I just wouldn't recommend sledding in it.
It just doesn't work, trust me.
Better yet, trust Him.
If you abide in My Word,
then you are truly disciples of mine;
and You shall know the truth,
and the truth shall set you free.
John 8: 31b-32

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