Thursday, March 22, 2018

Daily problems, oh, and one more to boot!

26 And in the same way—by our faith—the Holy Spirit helps us with our daily problems and in our praying. For we don’t even know what we should pray for nor how to pray as we should, but the Holy Spirit prays for us with such feeling that it cannot be expressed in words. 27 And the Father who knows all hearts knows, of course, what the Spirit is saying as he pleads for us in harmony with God’s own will. 28 And we know that all that happens to us is working for our good if we love God and are fitting into his plans. (Romans 8:26-28 TLB)

Most days I need someone's help - if not "human help", I certainly need the help and guidance of the Holy Spirit. What is so certain is that we have DAILY problems. They aren't occasional, once in a great while, in the by and by kind of problems that emerge - they are DAILY. Sometimes we don't recognize them as problems, but they are nonetheless. Problems demand a solution - ignore them and they just get bigger. Sometimes the solution eludes us - like it did during a recent 'build' of a database I was developing for the team I support. Do you know how many times I went to bed at night contemplating how I could provide the exact solution they needed in how this database would function? About an entire week's worth of laying my head on the pillow resulted in some type of early morning epiphany of how to accomplish what they set out to have. Each night, I'd have a different set of needs in mind. Each morning, there'd come a new solution to attempt! Now, that isn't just my mind working overtime - it is the help of the Holy Spirit to either bring to mind something I already knew, but just wasn't seeing; or he was giving me a fresh solution to a problem I had never encountered before!

As with the database, we sometimes know what we envision might work, but when we put into action what we feel may be the solution, we encounter hurdles that kind of set us back. I have learned to walk away for a while from what is staring me right in the face, not in defeat, but in quiet contemplation. In those moments of quietness, and even in slumber, God is opening and refreshing our minds! He is clearing out what we see as the hurdle so that we can see the path ahead and how to vault the hurdle! Daily problems demand just as frequent of answers - and there is no better way to find the answers than to get into the posture of listening! There are times when it is better to just stop 'doing' and start 'quietly listening' so that we can see where we have made any wrong moves that have contributed to the problem. When I make a 'wrong move' with the database, it returns an immediate 'error warning' or 'void' calculation. Why? It cannot produce what is needed because something in my 'set-up' of the formula was wrong. There are lots of times I have attempted to just go on in life with 'wrong formulas' - but the 'return' on all those attempts yielded nothing but lots and lots of error messages!

If the Spirit knows how to guide us with what is in harmony with God's will, why on earth don't we accept that guidance a little more often? I know our pride gets in the way some of the time, but I think our 'hurried' lifestyle might just get in the way a little more frequently. We don't take time out of our busy days to just get quiet long enough to listen. I was making something in my shop yesterday and the solution to it kind of evaded me. I wanted a rolling cart to store my woodworking clamps on that would slide under the workbench and be out of the way. It needed to be at an angle, much like an A-Frame structure. I was constructing it with some new lumber and a little bit of scrap wood I had collected around the shop. It had to be narrow, so as to fit under the bench, but it also had to be sturdy because those clamps can weigh a great deal. I got to the part of making the angled support at the top and chose two pieces of salvaged wood to make the supports. I didn't realize they had some of those embedded nuts in the back of the wood as I set out to saw the desired angle. You know what happened - I jammed up the circular saw with a nut in between the guard and the blade. Yup, that little set back took me about 20 minutes of finagling to get the blade out, the nut free and everything put back together! Do you know what is even worse? I kind of felt like I was supposed to turn the wood over and inspect it before I cut it, but didn't! I knew the wood was the right dimension, marked it, and set out to cut it. The first rule of woodworking is to know your wood! Know the grain, where the knots are, how it is milled, etc.

The first rule of making life decisions - know your guide! We have been given the Holy Spirit to help us avoid those 'time-consuming', potentially life-altering moments when we make mistakes that could damage us, the thing at hand, or another! Just sayin!