Sunday, May 28, 2006


It was a pretty warm day. A Saturday. Temperatures in the mid-80's. Perhaps why it seemed so different was that it was the first day of the year in the mid-80's. We had been spoiled (or overcome) by cooler weather all spring, and Saturday the heat broke loose.

The family had all had some projects they finished up outside. It was time to come in and get our inside things done. I was on the old workhorse computer in the basement, readying materials for church. My wife was seated at the "good" computer in the living room while the kids were relaxing in front of the television, trying to cool off after playing outside all morning.

Then around 4:00, it happened. The power went out. Mind you, this was hardly the first time we've lost our electricity in the house. But it's the first time I can remember losing the power in the middle of the day with no thunderstorms anywhere around the area.

What was remarkable was that we all seemed lost without the electricity. I scraped together pieces of what I had been printing for church and took them over to the office (where electricity was fully operational). When I returned home an hour later, the house, and everyone therein, was sleeping. One on the couch, two on the floor, the other in an upstairs bedroom.

"What a waste!" I thought. "It's a great day outside." It was a great day. Sure it was warm, but there was a steady cool breeze blowing. I decided not to wake anyone and went upstairs to read. "They'd surely never make it as Amish!" I snickered to myself.

As I laid on the bed, re-reading Philip Yancey's "The Jesus I Never Knew," the breeze blew through the window screen. As my eyes began to grow tired, I set the book aside for a few minutes and thought about just how comfortable I was and how unlikely it usually is for me to be comfortable during a power outage. Usually I'm watching for storms, checking the sump pump in the basement, lighting candles so that I can see. But on this Saturday, none of that was necessary. There was no storm, no water needing pumped and no darkness in the middle of the afternoon. "What a great time for the power to go out!" I concluded.

Around the neighborhood, others had differing opinions about the timing of this outage. Saturday was high school graduation and there were a handful of graduation parties lacking any way to heat food, or cool guests. As the hours passed with no resumption of power in sight, these neighbors didn't think it was such a great time for the power to go out. And putting myself in their shoes, I can't say I blame them for their anger. By the time the lights came on, almost six hours later, we needed lights, and the parties had already broken up.

Isn't it odd that what God thinks is perfect timing for our lives is often considered by us to be the worst possible time for anything to happen? "Lord, why did I have to crash the car today? Couldn't you have done something so the other driver would have seen me coming?"

The truth is, there is never a good time for disaster in our opinion. Or consequences of our own actions. And because we can't find a good time or reason for the bad things that happen, we blame God, all the time not realizing that God thinks the timing is just fine. You see, He can use all those bad times, even when all we see is disastrous timing.

Like me, lying on my bed with a cool breeze and a good book in hand thinking about this being a great time for a power outage, God's timing isn't always popular. Somehow in our minds we get the idea that we know better than God. That God should take our advice on timing things out.

Idiots, aren't we?

"Lord, help me remember that You are God, and not I. Even when I don't understand Your timing, remind me that You make all things work for my good -- in Your own time."

1 comment:

Callmeteem said...

That's good. I feel the same way about a good blizzard when I'm safe at home. It's an enforced rest.