Funny little things, memories. (Now I am not going to start singing some corny Streisand song) Tiny bits and pieces of our existence, that seem to stay in our minds for years and years. It is funny that we have been created this way. God made us with the ability to remember things that help us, encourage us, drive us, teach us and even scare us. Somehow, science can’t really explain it, there is a hard drive in our heads that store these tidbits of life that we cherish, embellish and fear.
I remember so many things that are so dear to me I can’t really begin, in this short space, to relate all of them. I am sure that there are many more good than bad in there. There was the time when I was in the first grade and I got my first pair of glasses. It seemed so foreign to actually see clearly. I didn’t realize you were supposed to be able to see that well. I was standing on the sidewalk in Etowah one afternoon waiting for momma to come out of a store. A guy on a Harley rode slowly by and stopped for the light. He looked at me and said “hang in there four eyes”. I had a sense I would be forever different than anyone else. Momma told me to not worry about what some guy said, because she knew I was ok. That helped then and so many other times I have thought “I am ok”.
The time my seventh grade teacher, and he was also my Pastor, took us to the Confederama in Chattanooga. That started a love affair with history that is alive today. Mom took my brother two friends and I to get a tetanus shot, we told the youngest of the group that they used square needles. He turned rabbit on us when we got in line, and it took all of us to drag him off a power pole and drag him back into the line. I don’t know that he ever got a shot, then or ever. Of course the first time I got someone to talk to Tammy for me is still clear. I was so shy that I could not get the gumption to say a word. Thankfully a good friend of both of us took over and made it happen. The rest is history. Our wedding, a one sock wedding, still remains an indelible story I tell with great pride. My groomsmen put sardines on the flower lady's van engine instead of mine because she made my Mother-in-law mad. Driving through Gatlinburg with our car painted up was a hoot. And of course looking into the eyes of a newborn baby girl is truly one of the greatest moments. I was going to bypass the delivery room until a nurse told me “son, either you can put those scrubs on or I will, either way you’re going to be in there. I am so glad she threatened me or else I would have missed that moment.
There have been some bad times too. Watching our house burn, knowing there was nothing we could do. This turned out to be a blessing as I got to lead a dear friend to Christ because of it. I also gained one of my dearest friends due to that event. Losing my Dad was a hard time for me, I never really felt like I had said all I needed to say. I still miss him 28 years later. Hearing that a friend had been shot and killed. The night before at work, I felt a strong unction to witness to him. I told God it wasn’t a good time to do this. I still see his face every now and then. All I can do is hope he made things right. Tammy and I had a car accident in 1979, two of her vertebrae were crushed. She got out of the car and tried to walk and I ended up carrying her to a church and laying her on the steps while I went to get help. Funny how a church seems to be there when we need help. She still suffers today because I wasn’t paying attention while driving.
Good or bad, God has given us a great capacity for storing important information. Those are just silly events, you might say, that have no great bearing on our lives. Tell that to a child that has lost a parent or a parent that has lost a child. I believe we have these stored pictures for a reason. It is so we can appreciate every bit and piece of our lives that mold together to make us who we are. I am one of those people who don’t believe in accidents, not even car accidents. God uses every circumstance to prepare us for ministry. Whether it is in the home, school, work or good things or bad things. Things that at the time are too big to understand or too insignificant to be important, we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. That’s what Paul tells us, that God is working, managing, and guiding events for our benefit. We usually think of this in bad times, or when God blesses us with money or at a time of loss. But God is always working. Jesus said “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.” He is working circumstances and events to mold us into His prized instruments.
So next time when you can’t understand what is going on, or you can’t seem to see the plan clearly, remember this, what you see as pain, He sees as gain. When you see it raining, He sees it as training. He sees a crown when you can only see down. We can rejoice in the truth that God’s hand is at work in each of our lives, in every situation and every circumstance. No matter what our view of the world, it is still in HIS HANDS……. “Memories, like the corners of our mind. Misty water colored..." Oh never mind, I’ll sing to myself….
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