Some Good Gifts Cannot Be Readily Enjoyed
Ed was my next door neighbor for seven years. Now, he is our self-promoted cousin, Ed, from Saskatchewan, who phoned me yesterday. He wanted to hear how far we had been able to travel each day with our two cats, since leaving on our move to British Columbia. Of course, my old neighbor had to tell me that he now has good new neighbors next door. Ed said that having me, a retired pastor, next door for seven years was enough punishment for a lifetime. My cousin Ed informed me that he has freedom again. He no longer has to watch what he says or does. I never realized my presence intimidated Ed in the least. I guess he was on his best behavior and I missed it. I know how that can happen, as I have often been on my best behavior and my wife never realized it either.
Ed was on his best behavior, over the phone yesterday, as he thanked me for my gift to him before we left, Melville. Several years ago on a tour of Ireland, we visited Bushmills Distillery in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. This distillery claims to be the oldest one in the world. That claim is from a 1608 license granted by King James 1st to distil whiskey. When Ed was at our house watching us pack cupboards for moving, he saw that we had an unopened bottle of Irish whiskey. Ed has always claimed that, whiskey is, as good as, or better than medicine. Ed takes a slug to a glass of whiskey for colds, flu, feelings of sluggishness or stress. Ed repeatedly said that good whiskey is the tonic of life.
Since, Ed was so interested in the bottle of Irish whiskey I offered it to him as a gift. When he called yesterday, he complained that he had not opened it yet. That bottle reminds him of my skepticism of the health benefit of whiskey, and my total disregard for its good taste. His frustration at the memory of my dumb attitude toward good whiskey has been a thirst killer. I suggested that it was a temporary phase. I told him that he could drink to my stupidity about whiskey, and he thought that was a good solution.
We often want God to come up with good solutions to solve our problems and concerns. We want God to take care of our concerns, but mostly God insists that we become involved in the solutions to our problems. Don’t we want God just to give us what we think is needed? In the gospel of John, we are told that the mother of Jesus came to him looking for his help. The problem was that there was no more wine at a wedding celebration. Jesus did not seem eager to help because he asked her, “Why do involve me?”His mother knew she could not demand Jesus’ help. She was confident that Jesus would solve the problem. She told the servants to do whatever Jesus might ask them to do. With their work filling water containers, Jesus changed water into abundant, fine wine for the wedding. We cannot demand God’s help, but we can be confident he will lovingly help us solve our problems.