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One of my favorite stories is about Chippie the parakeet. Chippie was a happy little bird, content to sit on his perch, swinging and singing to his little heart’s content.
One day Chippie’s owner started to clean out his cage. She took the attachment off the end of the vacuum hose and stuck the hose in the cage to clean the bottom. Just then the phone rang. She turned to pick it up and had barely said hello when "ssopp!” Chippie got sucked up the hose!
As you can imagine, the lady gasped, dropped the phone, and turned off the vacuum. She ripped open the bag just to find Chippie lying in the dust. He was alive, but totally in a daze.
The owner did the only thing she could think of: She picked him up and ran to the bathroom sink and turned on the water full blast. She stuck him under the water and then started to wash the dirt off him really fast, being oblivious to the fact that Chippie was nearly drowning.
Then realizing poor little Chippie was soaked and shivering, she did what any good bird owner would do; she reached for the hair dryer and blasted the little guy with hot air. Poor Chippie never knew what hit him.
A couple of days later, the person who had originally called made another call to check up on the bird. She asked how the bird was doing. The owner said, “Well, instead of singing like he used to, he just sits there and stares off into space.”
Most of us can identify with little Chippie, can’t we? Things seemed to be going okay in our lives, and then out of nowhere, we are hit hard with something very hard to cope with. And from that point on, we are no longer the same as we were.
Or, when something happens, we try to make them better, only to end up making them much worse. There are times when our lives seem broken and need to be fixed. But where do we get them fixed?
I remember when my son was about 6-years old. He had a toy car that was made out of plastic, and one of the wheels broke off. Instead of asking me to fix it, he sat down and spent most of the day trying to fix it himself. Of course, he wasn’t able to fix it so it stayed broken.
Sometimes, our lives are like that toy car; they break and are in need of fixing. And what do we do? We do like my son did with his toy car. Instead of going to our Father for help, we try our best to figure out how to fix it ourselves. And most of the time, we are unable to fix it.
We ask questions like, "If God is a good God, why am I going through such a hard time?” The most difficult thing to understand in life is why pain, problems and suffering are a part of it. If we are not careful, contemplating "Why?” will leave us bitter and cynical. Spending all our time pondering about why our world is broken does little to mend it.
We must be very careful when trying to figure things out. We don’t like to admit it, but we are severely limited in our abilities to do that. It’s like the old man who said, “When I works, I works hard. When I plays, I plays hard. And when I thinks, I falls asleep.”
I have found, to my experience, it is better to pray about things I don’t understand and then just turn them over to God. If he wants me to understand them, He will give me that understanding. If He doesn’t, I won’t waste my time or His by trying to fix something that may or may not be broken.
I do know this, though.
- God in the Hardships
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