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Twist of faith

01 Dec

The last Saturday of November started out as one of those kinda aimless days. I had a bit of work-work to do and I had some house work also. Deep down I was an unhappy camper for reasons I can’t always get at. I just know what I feel, not why.

Earlier, I had come to the awareness I am content with my work situation, but I am not fulfilled in it.

In conversing with God about this the way I do, I made pretty clear I was discouraged, and I desperately needed something to strengthen my confidence and hope for the future. And just in case the wireless heaven-line was busy that first time, I repeated it. “Hello: I need a new sign of hope.” It was said in various ways with various levels of lament or gate-of-heaven smashing defiance. A few requests found the happy humbler middle.

I went about my day, tugging my proverbial bootstraps as if by moving the boots I was motivating me.

It worked. I got busy and my request for new hope – for a sign from God – became a vague darkness in the back of my mind and depths of my heart. I remained alert for signals, looking for them to come in ways I expected: an email from a church inquiring further about hiring me; or a phone call from the bank saying there’d been an error in calculations for all my life and they had $10,000 for me… that kind of thing. Nada. None of that happened. I was watching carefully, remember!

During the week I had written a report to the board in of the camp I live and work in, a report in which among the good things I had to share I had mentioned two things I was dissatisfied with, two things that frustrated me in my work. One was an extremely slow desk computer, the other was a lack of a reversible drill, either corded or cordless to make some of my repair tasks more efficient. Numerous times I had done repetitive screw turning by hand. Reporting these irritants was more about venting and getting things known. It was done without serious expectation of change. Maybe it was even a precursor to the glum feelings Saturday morning. It likely had some self-pity in it. I’m good at that (He said with insecurity-covering-ego-pride, another thing he’s good at).

Well, I need to tell you that it wasn’t until this morning, the day of writing this, Sunday, when I picked something up from where I had set it down yesterday that I realized very unusual, non-coincidental, sign-like things had happened, and I missed them completely, even though I was part of it. I made no connection in the moment.

Saturday a lady came to the camp to do some cleaning as a volunteer. As I went over to check if there was anything she needed and to describe what I’d done to prepare for her arrival, she opened her trunk and said “could you use a cordless drill? And I have a cordless screwdriver here too. Here, take them. I don’t have a use for them.” And so I picked them up, duly thanked her dully and started walking toward the camp workshop to put them away. She said: “No no no, keep them in your house, use them for yourself” and so, my steps a little lighter with a load that was now mine, I dropped them off in my back room and went back out into the dull weather to do some things.

Later, the two guys from the camp board who do the property work came. They said “We’re here to see if we can speed up your computer with new memory chips and a cleanup, and Pete, we brought you a cordless drill” to which I replied “I already got one” and I fetched it and enjoyed seeing their tool envy. I can’t remember ever having others envy tools I had. But still, I was nonchalant in the bigger picture sense of things. No lights were going on for me.

Nothing registered until Sunday, when I pulled the cordless drill out of it’s neatly compartmentalized box with bits and attachments each with their own cubby, and I realized it had two batteries with the charger, it was a 14.4 volt Mastercraft (newer units, I knew, had voltages in the teens, older ones were below 10), a nice darker blue colour that I like with bright yellow buttons, it had an adjustable clutch for if you were either drilling or driving screws, it was not only reversible but had two speeds and, most significant, it looked like it had probably been used once on a Sunday afternoon it was so clean and unscathed. And I held it in my hand, and felt the heft and balance of it and imagined the torque and whine of it, and the ability to reverse and to adjust the clutch… and I realized something unique had indeed happened the day before.

For this lady to show up with a drill, particularly not knowing anything of my whine in my report, and then for those guys to arrive ready to address my concerns when I didn’t expect it, well I had to admit it was notable or remarkable at the very least, and worth a silent restrained-Reformed “thank you Lord” (Hallelujahs are too charismatic in such situations, as is Holy Celebration Dance). And for it all to happen that same day, within hours of my lament! Quite something. I’m not sure how to interpret the sign though. I’m reluctant to give it too much meaning. I’m watching my email still, and waiting for the bank to call…

Somewhere in me I know my problem is that I’m missing the billboard message. I’m missing it because I’m not liking it. It doesn’t fit my plan, my agenda, my hopes and aspirations. God seems, at least at the time of writing, to be reinforcing me where I am with hope signals on request. My problem is my agenda is not the same as Gods.
Who’s going to change agenda’s first?
Stay tuned. The batteries are charging. Will a green light go on for Pete, or will it stay red?

 

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6 responses to “Twist of faith

  1. James

    December 3, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    God is that fantastic director, his son is a fantastic example of how to be righteous, and his spirit is motivating me when I get too complacent and God encourages when I get too depressed. I agree with you, these little divine-like motivations seem to come out of left field. From some unexpected sources. Proving how much he cares for each and every one of his performers.

     
    • pastorpete

      December 3, 2009 at 10:33 pm

      Thanks James. I struggle not so much with not liking the ‘play’ I’m in but desiring to be in another one that I’ve done before and which the curtain came down on. But I see how dreaming of the other makes me less effective in the current.
      Pete

       
  2. Rick

    December 3, 2009 at 9:49 pm

    Hi Pete, Cool web site! Remember God never changes the agenda. I am afraid you will need t wait for his timing if you want to keep in step with him and stay on the path. Many people would love to have a tranquil season out in the wilderness surrounded by God’s Glory. Maybe he wants you to learn something? You are close to living like a Monk! Maybe get a robe and walk around with incense (-: Remember John the Baptist was always out in the Wilderness and look what he accomplished! In some ways I picture you and him to kind of look the same (-; Spot any locusts out there? ha! Maybe you should get a wild animal skin instead of a robe! (- : See you Sunday! Rick

     
    • pastorpete

      December 3, 2009 at 10:36 pm

      Will a bathrobe do?
      Yes I did see a grasshopper out on that grassy point with the bench, but it didn’t occur to me to eat it.
      I have in fact often thought I’m some kind of reincarnation of a mix of the last of the OT prophets John the baptizer, and impetuous Peter. Sigh.
      Thanks for checking it out Rick.
      Pete

       
  3. Clifford Thate

    December 7, 2009 at 3:52 pm

    Hello Pete:

    Thank you for your candor and honesty.

    What I have learned is that God will never give me any more until I learn to deal with what I have right now.

    I have learned that the Great I Am has a hard time turning over 3 areas of my life to God. They are money, jobs or sex. I may give him one or two of them, but I want to manage the other one. When I manage things, I manage them into the ground.

    I like the thought that says that “I should bloom where I am planted”. I always thought I should be somewhere else than where I was. My mentor told that there was no perfect job for me and that I was actually in an excellent job because I got to learn how to live (my life) God’s way using my 12 Step tools, which would have otherwise remained untouched. How fortunate I was to have such a learning experience. I was a Ticket Agent at the Bus Depot in downtown Vancouver for 10 years.

    I do not know what lessons God has in store for you, I only know that if I can pick up on 1 in 10 opportunities that God puts my way, I am doing extremely well. What have you been learning, while you have been there?

    I had to talk to myself, many times (in a good way) and say, “Clifford, wherever you are, be there”! I was a habitual day dreamer and there is nothing wrong with that except that I would get lost in it.

    So, what my Mentor taught me was that when I go reaching for things, that was my will. When I would deal with what God placed in front of me, that was God’s Will. I know you can argue that this is too simple and yet I laugh at the simplicity of how easy it is to live such a life. This is of course all within reason. I guess that when you want something, you have to make plans and see them thru and again, this is God at work because if it is meant to be, it will just fall into place and if not, there will be roadblocks.

    Have you ever read the 3rd Step prayer that is in the Big Book of AA? God, please free me from the bondage of self, so that I may better do Thy Will!

    I do hope that you are having a Great Day and I have enjoyed to opportunity to share some of my experience with you.

    Kindest Regards,
    Clifford

     
    • pastorpete

      December 13, 2009 at 12:02 am

      Thanks Clifford, a wonderfully wise and thoughtful reply that strikes me as very relevant to my struggle depicted in the story. In the men’s study one of the handful of things that really stands out from Jesus’ words in John is how he did exactly what you describe: He went about his day and dealt with what his Triune partners put in front of him. So to me now it is fun to imagine the falsehood of Jesus waking up in the morning and penciling into his daytimer (I can hardly imagine him even having one) “Find 10 lepers to heal and then save the world.” Instead, he got up, had a conversation with his Daddy, and was watchful for what opportunities were right in front of him each moment.

       

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