I don’t how many of you have done your own plumbing repairs on your home. Sometimes you need to take a trip to the hardware store or local plumbing supplies store and get the parts needed to complete your home plumbing repairs. It saves us money to do this ourselves. And I figured if I made a few mistakes, how much could it possibly cost to try again? Certainly I figured it would be a lot less than to hire a plumber.
In the late 1970s, I purchased a home in a market in which there were many “fixer uppers.” This home needed the plumbing fixed and we agreed to do that as part of the purchase. I was pretty young at the time and felt I could do just about anything. How hard could it be? This house did not have a basement, but rather a crawl space to get to the plumbing. As I looked over the job, I realized that I took on more than I thought. Each and every section of plumbing needed to be replaced. All the lines and all the drops from the street connection to the back of the house needed to be replaced. Well, I got a plan together and got started. It didn’t take long for me to realize I needed help.
So, I called a good friend, one who I knew I could work well with and, who knew about plumbing repairs. The first question he asked me was, “What’s your plan?” I showed him what I had written down and he said, “That won’t work. Can I tell you what we will do?” I said, “Sure.” What he said next shocked me. He said, “We’re going to lay out the entire job on your front lawn.” I laughed at him. I thought about what the neighbors would think. I told him that I just couldn’t see how that would work. I wanted to replace each section at a time. But I trusted his experience and we moved forward.
Well, I was pleasantly surprised how things came together. After we took all the measurements and laid out the copper piping and drop downs, we proceeded to take it under the house. Each section fit perfectly. He told me if our measurements were correct it didn’t matter where you laid out the piping, it would work. And it did. We soldered each connection and drops, put in more shutoffs and connected it to the street connection. I turned on the water and everything worked perfectly. A giant plumbing puzzle was put together on my front lawn and then under the house.
The “Now” was I couldn’t see how it could possibly work. The “Then” was that the plumbing worked perfectly. My friend knew that his plan would work and he was correct. How could I live in the “Now” and trust my friend for the “Then?”
God’s Word tells us the story of John the Baptist. It was John the Baptist who was out baptizing people in the Jordan River. I think most all of us know the story of John the Baptist who proclaimed, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.”
But we see in Matthew Chapter 11 something that may seem strange to us. Matthew 11:2-3 says this, “John the Baptist, who was in prison, heard about all the things the Messiah was doing. So he sent his disciples to ask Jesus, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?”” It sounds like John the Baptist didn’t know Jesus Christ at all. “Hey, Jesus, can’t you see my condition.” “I’ll send my disciples to check you out.” (Read Matthew Chapter 11)
Friend, I tell you God has not gone anywhere and He is always with you. God cares and loves you with an everlasting love. John was in the “now”. And the “now” didn’t make sense and had him puzzled. So he sends his disciples to Jesus to ask if he really is who he thought he was or if he somehow missed it. Have you ever been there before? How many times have you had a moment like this with the Lord? We sometimes conveniently forget what God has done in our lives and at the first crisis, we’re asking ourselves, “Where is God? I thought He cared.” You see, in our lives, sometimes we get pieces that we don’t understand. But God’s sovereignty doesn’t depend upon our circumstance. Author and Pastor at Life Church in Oklahoma, Craig Groeschel once said: “Our faith is in God, not in the outcomes that we want.”
If you want to know more about “Puzzled: Now and Then”, listen to Pastor Aaron Taylor on podcast: http://painesvilleag.com/puzzled to hear this powerful message.
How do we live in the “now,” trusting God for the “then”? We do it by, in the doubts and the confusion of today, trusting in His tomorrows. God says this in Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV): “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”