Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The Mailbox

Today I finally finished putting up a new mailbox in front of the house. It was a necessity. We live in rural America on a country road. The mailboxes out here sit on 4 inch by 4 inch posts, about 4 feet off the ground right at the edge of the road, which makes them vulnerable to the dreaded Great American Snowplow. Mine was living on borrowed time since the first incident two years ago. The plow driver had even come back to help me remount the box on the cracked post and platform. But the healing process wasn't complete. About a month ago, a wave of snow, salt, sand and sleet off the V-shaped steel hit the box with a vengeance and broke it off the post. I managed to get it reattached, but last weekend a plow hit it full bore and knocked it off for good. Yesterday I was doing my best E. R. doctor impression, trying to get the container patched up and serviceable for another month or two. But I had to stop C. P. R. The patient was a goner. So today, the new receptacle was installed. Now I'm ready to receive snail mail again.

In my life, I've had all kinds of mailboxes. I've had the little cubbyhole post office box, the indoor apartment house box, the outdoor apartment house box, the mailbox sitting in a long row with a bunch of other people's mailboxes. . . they all do the same job. They collect the messages people, credit card companies and politicians want to send you. Now, of course, the important stuff comes in the email box, which is a new way of accomplishing the same thing.

In the Peanuts comic strip, Charles Schultz often drew the tragic hero, Charlie Brown, sitting at the base of his mailbox waiting for a valentine. The mailbox seemed to mock him at times as his heart seemed as empty as the box. Just one valentine. That's all he wanted. Especially if it was from the object of his affection -- the little red-haired girl.

Sometimes I feel like I'm sitting outside that empty mailbox, waiting for a letter; wondering why I've been ignored by my heavenly Father. My prayers seem to bounce off the clouds, or as one saint once put it, "The heavens seem as brass," with the prayers reflecting off the burnished surface. I think everybody goes through periods like this from time to time. Dry periods. Yet even when it seems the mailbox is empty, I still have a storehouse full. Sixty-six letters to be exact, bound together in one Holy Bible. And I still have the memories of the way God has brought me along and directed my path when I would let Him. And I still have the assurance of my adoption into His family, not to mention the true peace which He has given me. And if I stop to think about it, I have His presence in my life as well. The trouble is, it's easy to forget that when we get wrapped up in our feelings of rejection and isoloation.

Some Christians continue to seek new revelation. They ask God for a sign or a special "word" just for them. I don't understand why they want more than what we have already been given. Even in the driest of days when my mailbox is full of dust and cobwebs, I know that God has communicated His love for me through Jesus and made sure that the Bible was preserved so that I could read the special revelation of salvation which He gives me, but which I do not deserve. Plus He has given me an invitation to drop by anytime to talk. Even if it doesn't feel like He's there -- He's there. Feelings aren't good indicators of truth anyway.

Even if a snowplow takes out my new mailbox, God's delivery has already been made. Now it's up to me to use what he's given me, and to keep seeking His guidance.

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