Your Church +Portland


The Deutch Swing Set

Years ago shortly after my son was born I was given a brand new, much needed swing set still in the box. It was a beauty. Eager to get it set up and ready for Dillon to use I cracked open the rather large and heavy box so I could find the instructions to create this masterpiece. I quickly rummaged through the maze of bolts, screws, chains and bars organizing them as I went, until I discovered the much needed papers I was searching for. However what I found were only three pages, two of which were registration. To my dismay, the so-called instructions included only one legal sized page revealing a rather small exploded picture of the completed swing set. To make matters worse, it was written in German. I sat in the grass of my backyard and thought, “How the heck am I supposed to build this?” There was no You Tube videos back in the day, no internet coffee shops to use a computer at and no such thing as Google. Okay I know, as a reader you’re probably thinking, “how hard could building a swing set be?” But before you judge me, let me just say it had a lot of parts and pieces! So meticulously I laid out every piece of the swing set as the picture showed, organized the various screws, nuts and bolts and tackled this monstrosity. I admit that it took me the entire Saturday to put it all together but by the end it was a beauty. Well sort of. One of the swings didn’t swing right and the set kind of had this weird wobble on the right side. Unfortunately I came to realize the problems I was encountering wasn’t a manufacturers defect but rather a builders defect. Apparently I used the right bolts but unfortunately in all the wrong places. I knew then that I should of learned German. Who knew? Needless to say, I scored brownie points with my boy and he was the envy of his friends. For that I was proud. That is until the other dads came by and questioned my abilities. 

Sometimes life can be a lot like that swing set. With anticipation we crack open our dreams and goals only to find the instructions written in a foreign language. We do our best to follow the examples of picture perfect lives set before us but in the end the bolts never seem to match. The end product may look good to some, but the lingering wobble gives us away.  

Proverbs 2:6 (NKJV)
For the LORD gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding;

To succeed in life's journey takes a lot of wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Having strong role models (the ‘finished’ picture) around us definitely helps but all too often we end up focusing or idolizing upon the most appealing aspect of their lives forgetting the real work it takes for one to get there. We end up trying to mimic and recreate what we think we see but all too often the good bolts end up being used in all the wrong places. 

God is like the manufacturer. He places within us a picture of what our lives can be. But without His wisdom, knowledge and instruction it all reads as German to the English speaking person. If we try to build it alone, we’ll forever end up living with what could have been. But if we’re not afraid to ask, God has an entire Handbook of tips and insights He’s just waiting to freely give us to help us build that one of a kind masterpiece!  

Enjoy your journey!
Pastor Shian

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