Thursday, March 31, 2022

Simple Challenge

 Hello Dear Friends!

I want to share with you a challenge we were given a couple of Sundays ago.  John (our first son-in-law) preached the morning message.  We've been doing a series called "This I Believe."

His part of the series was to explain why our church puts such a high priority on our children and youth departments.  Bottom line: we want our church to be a living, vibrant place of worship and HOPE.  

Nothing speaks of hope and future like toddlers running around, bumping into peoples' legs, looking up to see a smile, then responding with squeals of delight.  It's really just the best.

Pastor John challenged us all to put down technology for three days.  We were to only use our phones for calls and our computers for actual work.  Otherwise, we were unplugging all games and unnecessary communication for those 72 hours.  

Then we were to use the time we "gleaned" by being more intentionally present with family, with prayer or even exercise just to name three options he offered. Sounds simple enough - but it wasn't.  

In fact, I'm putting the same challenge out to you today.  I'd love to hear about your experience if you try it.

During my three days of technology fasting, I realized how often I look at my phone unnecessarily.  The two biggest time stealers for me?  Facebook and Solitaire.  

I use these when I'm waiting for other people or as a signal of "down time" when I'm stressed.  Apparently, I'm a stressed waiter often!

When I did go back to play a game of solitaire on my phone, it started me thinking.  Here's what I got from my silly game.

I almost always select the medium difficulty level for play.  The easy level has little challenge. And while I can do the hardest level, I don't like the idea that many of those games have no solution.  

The manufacturer of the game on my phone assures players that for the medium level there IS a solution; and I like that assurance. I play as though I believe what the manufacturer has promised.  

Please understand, I have worked on some of those games for days at a time.  There is this annoying little sound once you make the final move and it appears there is no way to solve the game.  But I am armed with the information from the manufacturer saying there IS indeed a solution.  I just have to back up and try again to find it.  And that's precisely what I do.

Many times, I've had to take my phone to Frank (who is considerably better at solitaire than me) and implore him to help.  Typically, he finds the answer within just a few attempts.  But one way or the other, I keep at it until I find the solution.  I'm a little embarrassed to admit to you - I've played and won a couple thousand games in the years I've owned this particular phone.  (Yep, time thief.)

I thought of the people around me who find themselves in puzzling situations.  They hear all the annoying signals that seem to say, "There is no solution to this problem." 

But friend, I want to remind you that the Manufacturer of Life has sent us a message.  He has clearly indicated that there IS a solution to all life's puzzling problems.  We have only to spend time with Him and He will help us move toward that solution.  After leaning in to hear Him, we move forward again living as though we believe His promise.

Isn't that Encouraging?!  It was for me.

I'll close with this assurance from the Manufacturer of Life:

“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23 ESV) 

There is a solution to your puzzling situation.  Don't give up.  Come close to this loving Father and He will help you find the solution.

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