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His ways are higher

When problems turn to opportunities

Scene 1: My son snagged a parking spot to crow about, smack in front of his row house in inner-city Philadelphia. Around 1 a.m. his housemate woke him: “Bro! Your car’s on fire.” Turns out a trash can was burning on the curb by his vehicle. It sure looked weird when it was over—the hood and half the passenger side of his once-proud wheels skinned and bubbled like an escapee of Hitler’s scorched-earth retreat from the Eastern front.

It just so happens my husband can fix anything. When my son pulled up to our house one day with the humbled Hyundai, David casually said, “I can fix that if you want.” 

That was the beginning of a few weeks of sweet labor—sanding out rust; bumping out dents and filling others with Bondo; stitching, then epoxying a busted bumper back together (actually sewing it with homemade “needle” and dental floss); more sanding, and priming, and painting (he hunted down an exact color match), and clear-coating.

I say it was sweet because David and I had been praying for a way for him to get closer to my son. We had asked God for “a way where there is no way” to bring healing of some damages.

If you’re one of his, these contretemps might just be the start of something beautiful.

Scene 2: My daughter, who found her wings early in life and flew far away, has now a beautiful son in her later fertile years, complete with backache and the sudden need of a mother. The snapshots of Brooklyn you’ve read on this page have come out of that God-wrought development—out of the doorway He made where there had been a wall.

Scene 3: I have lamented for years my ineptness with kids. My own and the children who’ve grown in my church, who were birthed and nursed and baptized and catechized, and deputized for missions trips, and prayed over for college send-offs, all without a word of encouragement from yours truly. 

And just to show how God hears even prayers that we ourselves have half forgotten, I got down on my knees one time and said, “Lord, would You give me love for kids and some way to be in their lives.” Or words to that effect.

Deep in my attic, I kid you not (as Jack Paar used to say), I came across two puppets whose beginnings I have no idea of, whether they were bought or gifted or forgotten by some long-gone puppeteer. I slipped them on first with my two grandkids, to mixed reviews. I tried again four years ago, asking the church’s “Bumblebees” teacher if perchance he’d like to supplement his lessons to the 4- and 5-year-olds. 

A carpenter friend created for me a puppet stand, modest but adequate, and I came in each Sunday for 10 minutes for the “Krusty and Patty” show, to the acclaim of half a dozen children.

Then when the coronavirus hit—which in this present story is like the trash can fire and the backache in the mother of a newborn babe—and when churches across the fruited plain were locked down with no end in sight, the director got a bright idea: How would it be if we brought Krusty and Patty into the living rooms of the congregation through the church’s website?

Somehow they’re on YouTube too, don’t ask me how. So you all are cordially invited to drop in on the “Krusty and Patty” show, under-10-minute Bible teachings, with a new post every week. If you have kids or grandkids, I would be delighted to make their acquaintance.

I put this to paper so as not to forget—on some future rainy day when the dog bites and the bee stings and a fire’s in your trash can and the pestilence upends normal operations—that if you’re one of His, these contretemps might just be the start of something beautiful. No use trying to figure it all out: His ways are higher than ours.  

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  • D J Duran
    Posted: Fri, 10/23/2020 07:48 am

    Wow, thank you for this testimony to the limitless creativity and sovereignty of our amazing God!

  • Neil Evans
    Posted: Mon, 11/02/2020 10:17 am

    Thank you! I tend to treat what I perceive as my personality or talent shortcomings as "just the way it is." Thus I rarely try, much less ask God, to change or use them. Of course, I'm sure, there are some things that most likely won't change till Heaven. I'll wait till then to join the choir. Thank you for the reminder that there are indeed things God can change, and will, If I sincerely want Him to.