Wednesday, May 19, 2010

"Lord, my chain is broken"

I remember years ago, reading a story of a little boy, in the Depression, who's job it was to deliver bread. The money he earned would be used by his family to help support them. Maybe he made all of a quarter a day to deliver the bread.

One night in the middle of a terrible storm, he still had several deliveries to make before going home. The rain was driving at him sideways as he rode his bike along the cobblestone streets of the city. A car drove by splashing through a huge muddy puddle that drenched him to his is bones and sent him into the curb. He jumped off the bike to inspect the loaves of bread and they were still dry. Thank God, he thought. If he could not deliver the bread dry, he would not get paid.

When he went to move the bike again, the peddles just started to rotate but did not propel him at all. He looked down and saw his chain was broken. He got off the bike and tried to fix the chain, as the rain continued to drench him. But it was broken beyond repair. At this point the boy sat down on the curb and cried. He didn't pray, he didn't say a word. His spirit was as broken as that chain.

Finally he looked over at his bike and saw a miracle. The chain was repaired and the bike was suddenly ready to be ridden! He jumped on that bike and made all of his deliveries in record time. He would still get paid and not lose his job after all!

After returning to the bakery for his pay he headed home on the bike. As the rain continued to pour down on him, he parked his bike on the small stoop of his parent's home. He opened the front door and just then heard a clank...he walked away from the door to his bike, where the chain dangled, broken just as it had before.

He looked up and prayed out loud, "Thank You."

You see God knew the measure of faith that little boy had. He knew if He did not step in, the brokenness of the little boy would be beyond repair. That broken chain was way more then then that little boy could handle.

God's word tells us that there is no temptation that has seized us except that which is common to man and when we are tempted, God always gives us a way out. That verse is where someone came up with the idea that God never gives us more then we can handle...Yeah, right. I am sorry, but I firmly believe that sentence has sent more believers into a guilt trip of self loathing then any other. Honestly? He never gives us more then we can handle? No.

Let's look at the verse itself:

New Living Translation (©2007)
1 Corinthians 10:13
"The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure."

Now I know that the alcoholic sitting in the bar with friends may be tempted to drink or the person addicted to pornography might be tempted to log onto the computer at work and God will deliver them in a "way out". But that is another angle we can play it on for another day.

I think the temptation that is more a daily fight when the hard times hit is to fall into despair~~like the little boy sitting on the curb~~ or to fall into self sufficiency...those are biggies for me anyway.
But let's be honest, the kid was in the midst of "more then he could bear" in this. It was then that God stepped in and performed a miracle. When it was beyond the child's ability to hang on to his last shred of faith, God delivered him from it.

I think the danger we fall into is becoming stiff upper lip believers. While there are times that acting like the Brits in the midst of the blitz is helpful, it is not a way of life.

What of my friends Kim and Aaron and their child Isabelle? Don't tell me that having Belle in the hospital for three months...don't tell me it is not more then they can bear.
Or my friend Jennifer who's husband, Steven, was injured at work more then three years ago and they are still trying to get out from under the financial tsunami that struck their lives.

A person could come to the point of total despair where they can't grasp the fact that God said He would deliver us out of the temptation. He meets us at our need even when he does not deliver us out of our circumstances.

Sometimes, God fixes our chain on the side of a curb in the middle of torrential rains. But think that story through again. Even with the fixed chain, the boy still had to deliver all of that bread in the rain. When he got home and the chain was broken again, he was faced with having to get it fixed or to have to walk his deliveries in the future.
Now God could have delivered him out of the pit of poverty...set his foot in the home of a wealthy benefactor and sent him to live on easy street. But no. God gave the boy what he needed to face the storm of the moment...God gave him a miracle of the moment.
God could give Belle the miracle she needs to run on the beach this summer in Ocean City. He is able. God could give Jennifer and Steve the miracle they need to be on solid financial ground so they can put that pool, that is sitting in their garage, up for their boys. He is able.

So I can't sit back and take the "God never gives us more then we can handle" angle on any of this. It is not written in the Word. He does too allow us more then we can handle. Notice I said allow, not give. God is always good so pain is never FROM Him.
Simply put, we live in a fallen world where the thorn and the thistle do strike us with pain. But harm? No, that is never, ever from God.
My prayer in times of despair?
"My chain is broken Lord."
I don't explain anymore then that. He knows what it means.

So when we are tempted to give in to despair or an "I can do it alone" mindset, He does deliver us out of it...even if it means we still have to deliver the bread in the rain.

1 comment:

jennifer said...

I think this is beautiful. You got it sister. And how fun was it to see my (See? Im going to catch up! One day). "By Standing firm, we will gain life!"