We have just come back from our holiday in the south west of England. We were staying in our caravan, which has a small awning (a bit like a tent) attached to it. On the last evening a new visitor arrived on the site and was parked next to us. In the usual short conversation that then took place between us – things like “Have you been here before?” and “What size is your van?” – I was asked if I was an experienced caravanner, and, if so, please could I help the man assemble an awning. He had only just bought the caravan and its awning, both of which were quite old, and as yet untried by him. Naturally I agreed, as we’ve been on camping-type holidays for many years.
About an hour later, we’d managed to attach the awning roof to the side of the caravan, but then we were presented with a varied selection of metal poles, clips, and side panels, some of which were a bit the worse for wear! By using logic, and a lot of guess work (there were, of course, no instructions), we put together a sort of frame to hold the whole thing up. But, as ever, there was at least one piece missing. It was time to take stock and have a cup of tea!
As we were ruminating about the fact that the previous owner had obviously discarded one piece, my new friend suddenly noticed that the centre pole was in fact not in the centre, and the top pieces of the frame were off line. He leapt to his feet (slowly, as neither of us are as young as were used to be!) and rapidly dismantled the two horizontal pieces, swapped around the component parts. And there it was – a perfect fit! He then remarked “the pieces are all here, they were just in the wrong order”.
I thought that was a profound statement from someone who probably had no understanding of the things of the Kingdom of God, but who had uttered a very godly observation. So often we complain about what we lack for doing the work of God’s Kingdom. Maybe we don’t have enough people to do the work in the church, or not enough resources to supply the need of our ministry this week, or our personal inadequacy in the face of today’s challenge.
However, God’s Word tells us that it’s all God’s work anyway. He provides what we need, when we need it, and in the right order. Our problem is that we look at things from a distorted human viewpoint. We often get things in the wrong order. If only we can sit back (it helps to have a cup of tea), take a fresh look, and see that, in God’s economy, we’re never short. We just need to get the right pieces working together in the right order (see Denise Cross’ Seed of the Kingdom 2nd July), and we’ll be amazed at what can be accomplished. I pray that our neighbour on the campsite will find a right order in his life, and that he can make Jesus the centre-post.
Prayer: Thank You, Lord God, for Your amazing plan for our lives. You don’t leave us with parts missing so we can’t fulfill the destiny You have for us, but sometimes we get things in the wrong order, and that makes it difficult. Help us, we pray, to look at our confusion from Your view, and hear the voice of Your Spirit showing us where we need to re-order our lives. Then help us to make the necessary changes, we pray. Amen.
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