It is one thing to prepare a sermon and then preach it in a church using the pulpit or lectern, but it’s another thing to set something up at home to record a message. You walk into the church to the pulpit, place your Bible and notes or electronic device on it. The ushers have already placed a glass of water there should you need it. At the right time, you preach. The recording happens without any work on your side. At home, you need to arrange a stand for your recording device, have something to place your notes or electronic device on, get your own water, make sure the various devices have electricity and only then are you ready to go.
Yesterday, I went through the exercise of setting up a side table on the dining room table for the tablet, placing the tripod holder on the table for the cellphone recording, running the electrical cables to power the phone and the tablet, placing a glass of water for just in case and moving the chairs (as I decided to stand in place of sitting). Finally, it was all ready … and the recording went well. I then packed everything away and went to the bedroom to make the ‘movie’ to upload to YouTube. It takes a long time to add in all the slides and trim the ‘movie’. By the time I was finished, it was 11.30pm. Great … just in time to catch the free data at 12am. After making the movie, I tried to save it… but the cellphone came up with an error saying, ‘not enough space’. After trying to clean up the phone, I deleted the first (original) recording. Now I had more than enough space … but sadly, now the ‘movie’ would not work. I could not upload it nor get it to play. All I could do was delete it and, after much prayer, leave it until today. I understand what happened, as this happened before. We have an enemy that works against the Word of God and the Gospel of Jesus going out.
Well, today I set up everything again. In the process of running the electrical leads, I knocked over the glass of water … the water flowed over the dining room table, over a few envelopes of pictures, over the electrical leads, onto a chair and onto the floor. Because we have wooden floors, Jenny has woolen socks put onto the chair leg ends. All four were soaked. Believe me … although I needed to hurry to dry and clean up the mess, it was quite funny. Eventually, once the water was cleaned up, the only ‘damage’ was the four chair socks that were soaked. Then, I settled down to record the message and everything went smoothly right to the point of getting it loaded onto the YouTube platform.
At the best of times things tend to go wrong … and at the wrong time at that. When they do, how do you handle it? Sometimes you can laugh as I did when I knocked the water over. At other times it is far more serious and being amused won’t work. What do you do? It’s best not to curse and blame yourself as we all make mistakes … even stupid or silly ones. You might even want to blame God because you feel you had prayed and then what you prayed about did not work out as you desired. What we need to understand is that even though we are God’s own children, and even though we pray about things … God is in control of all things. We might be the ones who make the mistake (like knocking over the glass), but according to Paul:
Ro 8:28 … we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
God uses everything and every incident and every person for our benefit (that is, if we love Him and have been called to be His for His purposes). This is Him shaping us and honing us and knocking off those rough edges. You see, when the believer experiences difficulties or hardships (or like me, makes a mistake), the believer prays to God. It’s not that we pray beforehand expecting all to go well; praying about difficulties and hardships includes praying even when things don’t go as planned.
Ro 8:29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son …
God’s purpose is our becoming like Jesus. See the word ‘likeness’. It means to be shaped to conform to His holiness and Righteousness … fully prepared for glory.
So, the lesson I have been learning this year is that most things don’t pan out the way I pray for or the way I would like. I am learning to trust God, learning patience and perseverance. Often, my prayer would be, “Lord, I don’t know why, but You do and You know best.” Naturally, this does not mean one relaxes and takes to the “easy couch” to laze the day away. No, we continue to do whatever comes our way each day. We work, we serve, we try … and fail and succeed and continue. That is the way God shapes us … as things go wrong or not work out the way we wanted it to, we pray, we depend, we hope, we trust and we wait for God to show us what He wants us to do and to be. Rushing to the kitchen for the roller towel, wiping up the table as I rescued the pictures and cables, drying the chair, kneeling on the floor wiping up the water, I laughed as I prayed, “Thank you Lord that I can see the humor in my silliness!”
Look at Paul’s words in 1 Thessalonians:
1Th 5:16 Be joyful always; 17 pray continually; 18 give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
Sandwiched between ‘be joyful’ and ‘give thanks’ is ‘pray continually’. The one who is joyful in Jesus will pray continually and will always give thanks. A good friend said to me years ago that he is always praying, whether in the car, at home or at work. You can do the same … and when you do, you experience the presence of the Lord all the time. This closeness helps you persevere through the hard and difficult times with joy and thanksgiving. Remember, “the spiritual mountains tone your spiritual muscles the most”!
Thank You, Lord, for everything that happens, for through these you prepare me for life and eternity. Amen.