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Four Hundred Children and a Crop of Oatmeal… and Other Misunderstandings

8257194_400x400_FrontIt is amazing how little misunderstandings can cause such an uproar…

You know, things like-

  • Saying the word “Crab!” as innocent verbiage for frustration and your mother thinks that you said, “Crap!” and because that is a  bad word in your house you get punished (apparently I am still struggling with that one from my younger years and am still very thankful I didn’t say “Ship”)
  • Not realizing that staying in the yard meant you couldn’t include the whole 200+ acres of farm it was connected to…
  • Being in a room that was being vandalized by a food fight and you watched but didn’t participate and the teacher walked in only to take names and report everyone to the principal… (sweaty palms, heart racing fast, stomach in throat…  are you feeling it with me here?)
  • Racing to get a sick child for a single mom friend who has you as an emergency pick up person on the school list only to run a yellow light which turned red before your back tires left the white line and a policeman just happens to be right there waiting …
  • Hearing your 4-year-old singing a song, “Satan Love….. whoa, whoa….Satan Love”… and only after freaking out and tracing your steps to find out where you were failing as a parent, finding out that she was only singing “Tainted Love”

Or maybe little misunderstandings like-

  • Your dog barking at night and you think he needs to go out and you get angry only to find out the next morning that he was barking at the bad guys who broke into your car
  • (Before the wonderful invention of iTunes and the internet) staying up for 24 hours straight playing cards and listening to the radio so you can share a song that you love with a friend because she has never heard it …giving up and exhausted … heading for bed and hearing your friend sing the song in the hallway…. just singing the wrong lyrics …and thought it was a totally different title..I’ve been known to sing a few wrong lyrics myself (four hundred children and a crop of oatmeal… you picked a fine time to leave me, Lucille)  so that one ended with a good laugh.

Or maybe those misunderstandings that are better left to be misunderstood, like…..

  • Hearing your 4-year-old sing, “Life is good… Tie it like a sweater (eternal life is better)” and letting her continue because it is so cute…
  • Going ahead and eating the profits for the fundraiser sales and just giving the candy bar to that senior adult who thanked you for the nice gift
  • After the third time trying to pronounce your last name, finally just letting the other person spell it Paul instead of Hall (it happens so much more than you know)

Being misunderstood stinks… oh, I guess there are times that you might be thankful that you were misunderstood, but for the most part, it stinks.  Jumping to conclusions, making rash judgment calls, thinking that someone feels a certain way when you really don’t know what they are feeling at all…….When I do the misunderstanding, I usually end up eating crow (I really never say this little eating crow idiom but talking about ravens… I felt it was totally appropriate)  When others misunderstand me, I usually end up hurt…

I taught the kids this morning about Elijah.. God told him to tell the king there would be no rain and after that he was to go hang out by a brook and the ravens would feed him and the water would keep him from being thirsty.  Elijah did what he was told.  Something that I had never really given thought to before was the fact that the water dried up, but yet it was where God had sent him.  So did Elijah misunderstand God?  Was he really not supposed to go there?  Would God just let him go hungry and thirsty if he was doing what God had told him to do?  Did God not care about him any more?  Though the Bible doesn’t say it, as he watched the waters evaporate daily during the drought, I would imagine that Elijah may have wrestled with a few of these questions.

But here is the part that struck me…. again the Bible doesn’t say what Elijah was thinking but it does say what he did… he did still obey God… He didn’t misunderstand God’s intentions… He never blamed God for his situation.  How easy it would have been to misunderstand God’s hand in the situation… there was more to the story and though Elijah didn’t know what it was at the time, he trusted that God meant what he said when he said that he loved us and he would provide. ..

Elijah got a much needed vacation during that time….. plenty of food, water and time with God but as the water dried up and the ravens stopped grocery shopping…God eventually told Elijah where to go… it was during that trip that others got to see some miracles… If Elijah had misunderstood God’s intentions and given up then other lives would have been lost…

We may not be sitting at a creek waiting for ravens to bring us food.  We may not be at a dried up creek wondering where to go, but we may be misunderstanding God’s love for us in the situation that we are in….maybe someone is thinking that he can’t be worthy of a new path… that the water dried up for a reason and that reason is because God doesn’t care… listen carefully, you may just hear God telling you the direction to home where you will see miracles… I believe God hurts when we misunderstand and give up… didn’t say it was easy… hang in there.

Elijah Fed by the Ravens James Tissot

1 Kings 17

2 Then the Lord said to Elijah, 3 “Go to the east and hide by Kerith Brook, near where it enters the Jordan River. 4 Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you, for I have commanded them to bring you food.”

5 So Elijah did as the Lord told him and camped beside Kerith Brook, east of the Jordan. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat each morning and evening, and he drank from the brook. 7 But after a while the brook dried up, for there was no rainfall anywhere in the land.

The Widow at Zarephath

8 Then the Lord said to Elijah, 9 “Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.”

10 So he went to Zarephath. As he arrived at the gates of the village, he saw a widow gathering sticks, and he asked her, “Would you please bring me a little water in a cup?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called to her, “Bring me a bite of bread, too.”

12 But she said, “I swear by the Lord your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.”

13 But Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!”

15 So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her son continued to eat for many days. 16 There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah.




 
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Posted by on October 5, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Life Stories

 

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Moses P. Diddy Hall… I appreciate you… sometimes

shih_tzu_puppy2I’m not sure that there is anything much cuter than a baby animal… well, not a baby narwhal but that is another story.  So, my friend sent me an email saying that she had found a puppy on the internet that she wanted.  A cute little girl whose photo was attached to the email.  I know when Moses P. Diddy Hall was a little ball of fur he was SO cute so I was excited to see this little fluff that she was so smitten with.  I popped open the picture with excitement to see a cute little fluffy, sweet puppy only to find a picture of a hairless little puppy with a comb over on her head…..okay, comb over is a bit dramatic but more like a frustrated genius scientist look… I will say that she wasn’t ugly andhairless puppy seeing her little round, puppy belly even made her a cuter than I would have guessed, but it sure wasn’t the picture that I thought I was going to see.  It was a photo of a Chinese Crested Puppy… .the hairless dog.  Now, some people may think that Moe wasn’t such a cute puppy because of his pug nose and big eyes and in comparison to this puppy I would say they might balance the scale.  So, my reply to my friend’s email was a quick,  “Cute but…..

Sam

Sam

They grow up” and I sent her back a picture of  Sam, the Champion Ugliest Dog… (a Chinese Crested adult dog who happened to win the ugliest dog contest several years in a row….And Moe… he tops that one… Well, it isn’t even a competition) I guess appreciation for some things is a matter of how you look at it.  I suppose Sam’s owners must have appreciated his uniqueness. So, when Moe is now doing something that I think is annoying or bothersome I can remember the photo of the ugliest dog and be thankful that at times, even when he smells, Moe is kinda cute… I can appreciate his cuteness.

It seems that I’m finding myself appreciating other things a bit more too.  The other night I was able to spend some time at the home where I spent the majority of my childhood.  My parents don’t live there anymore but fortunately it is still in the family.  I only spent a few hours there the other night but I could have stayed there forever.  It was an appreciation of that place that I had somewhat forgotten. The house is approximately 100 years old and has been renovated with the comforts of air conditioning and central heat while being able to sit in the glassed in room and enjoy the beauty of a vegetable, fruit or flower garden.   I can sit on the deck and smell fresh cut grass, hear the birds sing or crickets chirp while looking at acres and acres of rolling hills just as a family member may have done on the porch 70 years ago. I can remember sticking my feet in creeks, catching crawdads (or at least trying),ubwnk running in a yard so big that it would take up the whole cul-de-sac I live on now. It is beautiful.. and though I’ve always loved it there, I can’t say that I have appreciated it like I did the other night.  There was just something different.  Not sure exactly what it was that made me feel so blessed to walk through the grass or look at the trees I used to climb except maybe the fact that my daughters haven’t had that full experience.  They have played outdoors but not in the same manner.  Their outdoor life has been at a park or a small yard or a blacktop area where they have to watch for cars.  So, eventhough I never wanted to move from there when my family did in my young teen years, maybe my deep appreciation comes from having moved away and then coming back.

I guess that is the way it is with life in general. We can’t always appreciate until we recognize the obstacle, hardship or the opposite.  I think, had I stayed on the farm my whole life, I might be aching to get away.

I talked to the kids yesterday at church about Jesus feeding the 5000 with 2 fish and 5 little loaves of bread.  Something that I found interesting is that Jesus asked Phillip how they were going to buy bread for everyone.  I never really thought much about that question because the Bible says that Jesus was testing Phillip.  Maybe he wanted Phillip to say, “Jesus, do your thing…you have healed the sick and even done the whole food thing.  Remember?  You made water turn into wine..what are you waiting for?” .. But after studying it a bit I’m thinking that Jesus wanted Phillip to recognize the obstacle and the difficulty in meeting the need so that when he did do his thing it wouldn’t be taken for granted and it would be remembered as great.  Lots of people, little food… look what Jesus did.

My dog- sometimes annoying- take a look at the hairless dog and remember…. Yes, Moses P. Diddy Hall you are  appreciated

The farm-moved away- look at what my kids haven’t had- and remember the beauty of God’s creation and where I grew up- appreciated

So what else can I appreciate?   A spouse, a parent, a sibling, a child or a friend?  Maybe a house, a car, a yard or a bed?  Take time today to recognize the obstacle or the opposite of things in your life and appreciate today.

And by the way, my friend appreciated that little puppy enough to take her home…. Tasha is a new member of their family.

farmfarm2farm3

John 6

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

1Some time after this, Jesus crossed to the far shore of the Sea of Galilee (that is, the Sea of Tiberias), 2and a great crowd of people followed him because they saw the miraculous signs he had performed on the sick. 3Then Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down with his disciples. 4The Jewish Passover Feast was near.

5When Jesus looked up and saw a great crowd coming toward him, he said to Philip, “Where shall we buy bread for these people to eat?6He asked this only to test him, for he already had in mind what he was going to do.

7Philip answered him, “Eight months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each one to have a bite!”

8Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, 9“Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?”

10Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and the men sat down, about five thousand of them. 11Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish.

12When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.” 13So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.

14After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” 15Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself.

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2009 in Devotions, Faith, Fun, Life Stories

 

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