The day evolved like any other and the six o’clock dinner bell was fast approaching. I flipped on the tube trying to catch the tail end of nightly news. A distinct aroma stole my attention. “Not again! The garlic bread.” I rushed to the stove, donned an oven mitt, and yanked open the oven door. A burst of heat blurred my vision while I lifted the cookie sheet. I assessed the damage. The buttery slices of bread were scrape worthy. An art I’d mastered years ago.
The TV roared with the amplified volume of a commercial. “Shamwow.” I swear my neighbors heard the plea. I set the sheet of darkened crispy toast next to the sink and high-tailed it to the remote. Before I could adjust the sound, I was instantly mesmerized by the incredible power of Shamwow. I plopped down on the edge of the coffee table and rested my chin in my hands. How could something so small soak up so much stuff? Visions of all Shamwow could absorb floated in my mind as I embarked on a quest to understand the magic mop. How far was its breaking point? How much would be too much? I danced with intrigue. For that instant, I wanted to BE a Shamwow. To possess the ability to absorb extreme amounts and to be the yummy color of a dreamcicle. Well, not so much the color, but the capacity to hold limitless amounts of …. Not liquid…. Wait… How about knowledge or wisdom? My mind chimed an Aha. Wait, I can do that. My brain is just like a Shamwow! This cerebellum located between my ears can learn, memorize, imitate, create, decipher, and absorb. At my disposal is a powerful machine capable of absorbing, no wait, inventing new things! The more challenges I absorb, the more I can transform. A creepy little brew-ha-ha sound tickled my throat.
Just as fast as it appeared, Shamwow was gone. Within seconds, I returned to earth and to my blackened garlic bread. Bending over the sink working my magic with an ordinary kitchen knife, I reasoned with a zany analogy. A curse I was born with. Wouldn’t it be cool if God used a Shamwow? If He swept in without warning and cleaned up all the mess. With all of his wonder and power He could absorb all of the world’s problems in one masterful swoop. I smiled hoping God was watching.
But then what? My brow knit and my smile softened.
We all search for the easy solution, the simplest way make all of our troubles disappear. But that’s not God’s way. His way is lovingly complex and layered with seasons. Seasons of highs and lows, nears and fars.
One of my all time favorite books is, Hinds’ Feet in High Places, by Hannah Hurnard. A glorious tale depicting a character named, Much Afraid. Much Afraid wanders through the wilderness desperately seeking the majestic mountain her ancestors told her about. Along the journey, she encounters valleys riddled with fear, sorrow, sadness, and so on. When she reaches the foothills and basks in the breath taking sight of the mountain and the realization that she has arrived, she meets The Great Sheppard. Timid and meek she asks, “Why is it, Great Sheppard, that I had to experience such sadness, grief, and hurt throughout my journey?” The Great Sheppard responds, “Well, little one, if you had not felt such sorrow, you wouldn’t truly comprehend the debts of such splendor.”
God isn’t like Shamwow, He just finds a way to use it to Glorify Him. It’s the spills in life that show us what Love is all about.