I’ve been thinking and studying about learning to trust God in all kinds of situations. In my reading, I happened to read from one of my favorite authors (I have more than one), Max Lucado. In his book, Next Door Savior, Max recalls an interesting story I thought fitting for us here.
A man and his dog are in the same car. The dog howls bright-moon-in-the-middle-of-the-night caterwauling howls. The man pleads, promising a daily delivery of dog biscuit bouquets if only the hound will hush. After all, it’s only a car wash.
Never occurred to him—ahem, to me—that the car wash would scare my dog. But it did. Placing myself in her paws, I can see why. A huge, noisy machine presses toward us, pounding our window with water, banging against the door with brushes. Duck! We’re under attack.
“Don’t panic. The car wash was my idea.” “I’ve done this before.” “It’s for our own good.” Ever tried to explain a car wash to a canine? Dog dictionaries are minus the words brush and detail job. My words fell on fallen flaps. Nothing helped. She just did what dogs do; she wailed.
Actually, she did what we do. Don’t we howl? Not at car washes perhaps but at hospital stays and job transfers. Let the economy go south or the kids move north, and we have a wail of a time. And when our Master explains what’s happening, we react as if he’s speaking Yalunka. We don’t understand a word he says.
Is your world wet and wild? God’s greatest blessings often come costumed as disasters. Some of you doubt it. How can God use cancer or death or divorce? Simple.
He’s smarter than we are. He is to you what I was to four-year-old Amy. I met her at a bookstore. She asked me if I would sign her children’s book. When I asked her name, she watched as I began to write, “To Amy …”
She stopped me right there. With wide eyes and open mouth, she asked, “How did you know how to spell my name?”
She was awed. You aren’t. You know the difference between the knowledge of a child and an adult. Can you imagine the difference between the wisdom of a human and the wisdom of God? What is impossible to us is like spelling “Amy” to him. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9).
I keep taking Molly to the car wash. She’s howling less. I don’t think she understands the machinery. She’s just learning to trust her master.
Maybe we’ll learn the same.
If I hit my thumb with a hammer and it hurts, that is causation. If I hit my thumb with a hammer and a bird sings, that is correlation. Sometimes God acts in a causative way and sometimes in a correlative way. In that strange passage Exodus 17:8-16 Israelites fight Amalek. When Moses holds up his hands, Israel wins. When Moses gets fatigued and his hands drop, Israel loses. His buddies Aaron and Hur sit him on a rock and hold his hands up. Israel wins. That is correlation, not causation.
God still does that. College student Gardner C. Taylor wrecks his college president’s car, kills a man, and at the inquest is called to preach. Sixteen-year-old Charles Spurgeon gets lost in a Sunday snowstorm, ducks into the wrong church, and is saved. Oswald Chambers dies in an army camp in Egypt and his wife takes his transcribed chaplain’s talks back to the UK and divides them up into daily readings, now read by millions daily in My Utmost for His Highest.
Alexander Fleming forgot to clean his biology lab, came back one day, found mold in a petri dish, and there was penicillin. All of those are correlations.
Wait a minute… Hands in the air do not win battles. Car wrecks do not lead to historic ministries. Snowstorms do not lead to monumental ministries. And appendicitis in the desert does not create immortal devotional books…unless God says so. Ask the little boy who went to hear a sermon one day carrying five loaves and two fish for his lunch.
Somewhere today in your life God will make a strange, unexpected connection and it could change everything. The more you look for it the more it will happen.
If you need help, ask the donkey who happened to be standing there doing nothing on Palm Sunday…