Today's message is another experiential one. If you remember last week, we had the looming specter of changing the belt on my cutter at work, and how far behind that would put us, plus the lady at (our big customer) who was sick and NOBODY else could do her job, etc. So I knew right off this would be a frustrating week, and so my prayers appropriately ( I thought) focused on keeping my cool, showing Christ as all fell apart around us.
And boy, did it.
Every single day this week was a parade of people half-assing (pardon the unavoidable term) their jobs, creating a scenario of constant confusion. Whether it was the computer system, the support people at corporate, or even our own people (leading me to tell someone, "I know where (our engineer) went for lunch. He's in the middle of a two-car funeral messing it up, too."), something was constantly going wrong. But God was faithful. The worse things got, the more he helped me through them. But do you see the flaw in the logic yet? I didn't until this morning. That's when I asked, "What about Friday? Didn't I pray that same prayer then?" And when the answer was, "I don't know," a LOT was explained.
Forget about the "mega-rush" that I couldn't cut because it wasn't on our computer system, or that it took an hour to get an e-mail response from another plant (next time zone) to get the marker (what the computer knows how to cut by), or that when it came, it only had half the parts on it. Forget the three times (yes, three) that I myself ruined panels by forgetting to turn the vacuum on. Forget that in trying to correct one mistake, corporate made an even bigger one which resulted in me not having any of Tuesday's work to do (which I should have had DONE by that point) till nearly lunch time. What happened right AFTER lunch finished me off.
Does this sound like a Bible lesson? Bear with me.
First, the printer that does my package labels decided to start eating labels. Not a big deal (since I caught it right away) to free the offending label. But this machine WILL NOT reset once you've opened the lid. You have to go back behind it and turn it off, then back on, before it knows the lid is shut. There is not button on the front that will convince it, and I've tried them all. But this time, I had to shut it off not once, not twice, but three times to convince it that all was fell. That killed ten minutes of valuable time.
Then, the cutter's cutting wheel decided to jam. Easy enough to fix, but once fixed, you need to home the machine. And when I would home it, it wanted reset. And once I'd reset it, it wanted homed again. This was a cycle that cost me another ten minutes to break. Then came the topper. The problems with the company server went over the top, and corporate told us to shut them down "for five or ten minutes for maintenance".
At this point, the bosses mini-panicked, and told me that I would now probably have to work Saturday. Not because we had work coming out of our ears, but because everybody around us had failed us so miserably.
Do you see where we're going yet? Hang on.
I told my top boss that I could keep running the cutter w/o printing or issuing paperwork until the system came up. If I stayed over an hour, I could probably get enough done to satisfy things. He said, give it a try. This was approximately 40 minutes to quitting time, and before I had the first thing done, the system was back up.
Then I flew like a madman, getting as much done as I could, and proud of how I was doing. But just before 2:30, the other boss came over, a skeptical look on her face. "I don't think you're going to have enough done..." She said. I saw my Saturday slipping away. "I REFUSE TO GIVE UP, " said I, and went on.
Here is where the cork popped. I had a long one sided talk with God that involved a lot of whining and complaining, and saying Job was right all along. What is the point of being faithful if it only gets more crap piled on top of you?
And I knew certain facts about such an eruption. First, it was petty, pointless, and stupid. Second, it was an argument I was never gonna win. Third, the tension release would give me a short-term release, followed by feeling guilty and stupid, because I'd just done what Satan wanted. And finally, because I'd done what Satan wanted, something would shortly happen to make me feel two inches tall.
On queue, my top boss came out and said, "well, (the lady who does canopies) has five or six back there. I think Debbie will be in Saturday, so she can cut some if she needs more. If you can get six or seven covers (I was cutting the fifth one at the time), we should be okay."
So it's Sunday morning, and I know there's a lesson to be learned from all this. I put it in God's hands- "If you have a message in this, reveal it through my hands." And here's where God told me the flaw in my logic.
You see, every time we have a problem, we focus our prayers on the problem. Low on cash, Pray to God, and nine times out of ten, something else will happen to make the hole deeper. Pray for good weather for an event? Expect increasing chances of rain/snow/heat/cold as the event approaches. It isn't a coincidence that our car had a problem right on top of Scrappy and I's tooth removals to make a tight situation impossible. Nor should it have been surprising that as I prayed for patience and calm to get through this week, that problems would multiply.
Why? Because Satan adds to whatever problems you are focused on. Money woes? He'll set up more. Sickness? Watch and see. Because YOUR praying about a problem brings God's help, but doesn't PRECLUDE Satan making it worse.
The message, I was told, is don't focus the prayers on the problem. Focus on GOD. Because Satan can't do a thing about God. The flaw in the logic is thinking that Satan can't find a way around a topic-specific prayer. He can, and does, because if he can get us to say, (as I did), what good does it do to have faith if it just adds to sorrows? But if you come to God and put in His hands the WHOLE deal, rather than just that which (you think) you cannot deal with, Satan has nothing to focus on. Your focus can add to Satan's focus- or it could remove it.
Somebody please remind me of this tomorrow morning?