Tuesday, June 26, 2007

My Truck is Stuck

Some years ago, when we only had one child, my wife and I took our son to a book signing at Barnes and Noble in Greenville, SC. Lynn would probably call me a collector of collections, because I am really not devoted to any one of them as a full time hobby, but I do collect autographed books. This particular book that we were in line for was a children’s book called Shoeless Joe and Black Betsy, named for the bat that “Shoeless” Joe Jackson used when he played major league baseball.

As we were standing in line, someone came up from behind, put their hands over my eyes, and said “Guess who?”. Not being a big fan of these kinds of games, I was not very friendly and shrugged them off. When I turned around, I saw Kevin Lewis who is an old fraternity brother of mine from college. After I introduced him to my family, we exchanged the typical small talk. I found out that he was the Senior Editor for Simon & Schuster’s Books for Young Readers and had traveled down from New York with the author to visit Greenville for the first time in years.

I also found out that he had written several children’s books himself. One of the books he had written we actually had on our bookshelf at home. In fact, at the time our son’s favorite book was Chugga Chugga Choo Choo, by guess who…Kevin Lewis. I was floored that I had never paid any attention to who had written the book. Kevin and I exchanged addresses and said goodbye. Several weeks later, a package arrived containing signed first editions of all of Kevin’s books, all of them personalized to our son.

Another of Kevin’s books, My Truck is Stuck, soon became another favorite, and now our daughter has discovered them. My Truck is Stuck is about a dump truck that gets stuck in a hole. With a great rhyme, it tells of the driver’s efforts to remove the truck from the hole. In the process they flag down a car, van, jeep and bus for help. Each one is hooked to the rest to try to pull the truck out of the hole. It is a counting book of sorts, and it is fun to count how many “engines roar” to try to pull the truck out. The drivers finally encounter a tow truck and mechanic who then lifts the truck and pulls them out. The illustrator, Daniel Kirk, actually shows the frustrated assistant calling the mechanic without the driver’s knowledge.

While this is not a review of Kevin’s book, (although I highly recommend his books for small children) I do think it shows us something about ourselves. Why is it that we wait until the last bitter end to actually call on our creator for help? We try to do so many things ourselves, to help ourselves, and only when those things do not work, do we call on God. If we would only trust Him from the beginning to take care of us, then we might not spend so much time and energy on self preservation and damage control, and more on sharing the good news of Jesus’ love and sacrifice.

One day while they were in Capernaum, Jesus and the disciples got into a boat to escape the crowds. Jesus was apparently tired, so he decided to take a nap. Capernaum is located right on the Sea of Galilee which is famous for its sudden and violent storms and on this day they got a big one.

Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him. And suddenly a great tempest arose on the sea, so that the boat was covered with the waves. But He was asleep. Then His disciples came to Him and awoke Him, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” But He said to them, “Why are you fearful, O you of little faith?” Then He arose and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm. So the men marveled, saying, “Who can this be, that even the winds and the sea obey Him?”(Matthew 8:23-27 NKJV)

Now imagine the scene with me. There are thirteen men on this boat. We know from the Bible that at least four of them were fishermen by trade and there may have been more. They were used to storms on the sea, and were rugged men who could handle the boat. Therefore we can assume several things. (1) The storm was unusually bad, (2) They had scrambled and did all they could to try to save the boat to no avail, and (3) Jesus must have been really tired to be sleeping through it all. (Just for the record, I wish I could sleep like that!)

If they had been listening to Jesus, even while they were in Capernaum, they might have not been so afraid during the storm. Just since His arrival there, He had already healed a Roman Centurion’s servant, Peter’s Mother-in-Law, and as Matthew says “many others”. Jesus had already shown them His power in great ways, but they still believed they were going to “perish” in the storm.

What storm in your life do you believe might kill you physically, emotionally, spiritually, or mentally? What hole is your truck stuck in that no matter how many places in which you seek help, none can get you out? Why not turn to the One who created the storms and holes of life and who loves us enough to send the One who can calm our storms and pull us out of the holes. Give your life and storms to Him today. He may not always calm the storm, but He will always comfort you.

And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the LORD Shall be saved. (Acts 2:21 NKJV)

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