Dumb They Called Me

It’s time for my annual spoof of a classic Christmas song. This year The Little Drummer Boy gets a make over.

Don’t expect much humor this go-round. A spiritual contrast is more the order of business this year.

Feel free to share this with anyone you think will benefit from the message conveyed here.

I wish you and yours a very merry Christmas.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

Thank You Heavenly Father

Thank You Heavenly Father

Thank You for the breath in my lungs, a spark in my mind and praise on my tongue.

Thank You for food on the table, friends to enjoy and a body that’s able.

Thank You for love we can share, hugs to embrace and words of great care.

Thank You for songs that inspire, laughter that frees and poems that inquire.

Thank You for babies so pure, innocence witnessed and curiosity stirred.

Thank You for a new day to start over, fresh choices to make and a chance to recover.

Thank You for the will to go on, to continue this battle till death brings me Home.

Thank You for Your plan for my life, including the trials, the pain and the strife.

Thank You for not leaving me me, but stretching me more so Jesus is seen.

Thank You for wanting me by Your side, enough that You came and suffered and died.

Thank You for Your book I can read, the choice to decide to be slave or be free.

Thank You for choosing me as one of Your own and now using me to tell of Your Son.

Thank You for words that bolster another, encouragement to lift a sister or brother.

Thank You again for breath in my lungs, and a vision to see Your kingdom to come.

In Jesus’s mighty name I pray. AMEN

That Circadian guy was sure on to something

Have you ever heard of the Circadian Rhythm?

No, not Cicada rhythms. That would be that incessant high-pitched buzzing sound we hear all summer long. I think I still have its echo ringing in my ears now.

And no, it has absolutely nothing to do with music, unless you consider lullabies a part of it.

I have no idea if it gets its name from someone named Circadia or if it originated somewhere near a place called Circadia but I know it exists because I’m affected by it big-time right now.

Your Circadian Rhythm is that timeframe you tend to sleep in everyday.

Some folks prefer to sleep during the day and be awake at night. There are a lot of employers in search of such individuals.

Most of us would rather sleep at night so we can remain conscious during daylight hours. That’s the camp I fall into. At least I try to.

For some unexplained reason God has me swinging all over the clock in search of sleep versus work times.

In October I was so exhausted I could fall asleep any time I closed my eyes for more than a minute.

The first two weeks in November I was given a reprieve of working during the day and sleeping at night similar to normal individuals. Some days I’d prefer to be normal for a change.

Last week saw a return to driving mostly at night and attempting to sleep during the day. Even with my bedroom darkened to near pitch black I couldn’t fool my internal sleep mechanism to turn off during the time the sun was shining. I hate when that happens.

I have to take ten hours off according to our federal government mandates after close to fourteen hours of a driving day. My employer was kind enough to pay for a motel room for me on the far side of Arkansas Saturday afternoon.

I was unconscious for a total of about four hours before my infernal internal Circadian Rhythm kicked me into awake gear for the remainder of my down time. I despise when that happens.

Surprisingly I was quite awake for all but the final hundred miles of my return trip. A combination of chocolate covered peanuts and a high-caffeinated carbonated beverage sufficed me alive and awake.

There was no time for any sort of nap before I was off to church to spend precious time with my spiritual family members there.

Oh yeah, my head nodded more than once while I occupied a seat in God’s house. I’m pretty sure He noticed. Glad I’m His favorite child.

I pointed out to Him I was simply following the example Jesus set for me.

Yeah, you do too remember. It’s that time He fell asleep in the front of a boat during a storm. He nodded off so strongly even the waves crashing over the bow of that vessel didn’t wake Him up.

It’s because of that I’m convince Jesus would have made the perfect team semi driver. I’ve refused those runs since I know I wouldn’t be able to sleep with my bed bouncing down the road. Perfectly calm and cozy seems to be my challenge lately.

Jesus never did have trouble sleeping. He even made it a habit of waking up before everyone else just so He could have quality time with His Abba God.

It’s not that I don’t think God has everything under control that keeps me awake (I didn’t even stay awake to see the election results).

I just ain’t got no rhythm. That’s all.

Is there some way I can sue that Circadian fella?

Keep smiling.   Wade

BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS

Thirty one days after Moses walked to the mountains Joshua entered the Tent of Meeting and knelt down.

God’s voice was clear. “Moses is dead. Prepare everybody to cross the river and take possession of the land I’m giving them. As I was with Moses I will be with you. Nobody will defeat you. Be strong and courageous as you lead these people. It’s important that you follow My laws so you will live long in the land. Be strong and very courageous.”

Joshua left the tent and approached the elders. “Have everybody prepare to cross the Jordan in three days.”

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It’s been suggested to me that whenever I take on a new endeavor in my life I should read the first nine verses of Joshua 1 for thirty days straight. I’ve found that advice tremendously helpful because of the encouragement God repeats to His new leader here.

I condensed God’s prayer communication here because I found something very intriguing as I studied this passage during my time in it.

Verses five through nine are written as a Hebrew poem to help people memorize it.

Thanks to having a seminary professor as a Sunday School teacher I learned a bit about ancient Hebrew poetry found in the Bible. It isn’t written in rhyme like modern poems, that wouldn’t translate well into other languages.

Hebrew poetry uses repetitive ideas spaced in an interesting sequence to make their point. It uses eight “lines” of a poem. Each line may be a few words or a couple of sentences.

The first concept is repeated at the eighth line, also; the second at the seventh, the third at the sixth, and the fourth at the fifth. It looks something like this: A B C D D C B A.

I’ll show you how this plays out in Joshua 1:5-9 as best I can.

  1. A. No one will be able to stand against you all the days of your life. As I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will never leave you nor forsake you.
  2. B. Be strong and courageous,
  3. C. because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their forefathers to give them.
  4. D. Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law My servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or the left, that you may be successful wherever you go.
  5. D. Do not let this book of the law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.
  6. C. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
  7. B. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous.
  8. A. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord you God will be with you wherever you go.

I don’t think I could write a doctoral thesis on this, but it is interesting to discover it in my studies. These kind of things show up when you concentrate on one section of scripture over breakfast for an extended period of time.

It’s quite in intensive Bible study method.

If you want a way to pass down an important lesson to future generations a poem is a great way to do it, especially when most of them are illiterate and stories are the primary means of doing such.

Repetition in the Bible is always something to pay close attention to. “Be strong and courageous” is the main repeated phrase God gave to Joshua.

This crossroads of leadership change came with extreme circumstances. God used Moses in mighty ways to lead the people out of slavery from the most powerful nation at that time. That’s a big shadow you’re standing in as you lead these same people into the land God had promised to their forefathers.

For over four hundred years the Hebrews were taking orders as to what they had to do each day. God had led them the past forty years to get them here. This fledgling nation was on the cusp of settling into homes and the right to decide for themselves what to do with their lives.

I would want as much encouragement as I could receive at that time, too.

It’s also important to note the huge condition that falls in the center of that Hebrew poem.

Obedience to the laws God gave Moses would be the key to successful living in this land promised to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Moving the inhabitants out was one thing. Keeping invaders out would prove much more difficult, especially when the invaders came from the gods left behind by the inhabitants.

God gave Moses very specific guidelines for His people to follow. Moses meticulously recorded these rules so they could be obeyed by every generation.

There’s even an interesting geographical feature in this promised land that was supposed to be used to amplify the importance of following these laws. Two mountains stand divided by a narrow valley. Mount Gerizim is flourishing with trees. Mount Ebal is barren rock.

Representatives from half of the tribes were to stand on Gerizim and declare the blessings from God for obeying the law. The other half of the tribes were to stand on Ebal to declare the curses from disobedience.

This ritual as described in Deuteronomy 27-28 was only carried out once by Joshua after their victory at Ai.

The ultimate failure to obey God’s laws showed us the need for a savior to rescue us from ourselves. We’re incapable of  reaching God by our actions, especially when His standard is perfection.

Jesus was the only person who fully obeyed God’s laws. The reason He could is because He didn’t have a human father.

No sperm was used for his conception. God’s Holy Spirit entered Mary’s egg to become Jesus, fully God and fully man.

When we couldn’t reach God He reached down to us and died in our place.

To enter the ultimate promised land accept Jesus’s death as your own.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

Bible Lessons From 2 Peters

Worship this Sunday was incredible. The music was exta-extraordinary, which for Stonebriar Community Church is saying a lot.

We enjoyed the full orchestra and choir. They were hitting everything out of the ballpark. Even us regular folks were singing at full tilt, at least I know I was.

Fortunately I had time to absorb hymn 705 before the service began so I could sing it all the way through without tearing up. One of these days, Lord willing, I’ll write Ray of Hope so y’all can know why It Is Well makes such an impact on me.

We’ve been working through the gospel by Matthew, lately. It’s been well over a year, but when Chuck Swindoll is preaching nobody keeps track of such things. At 82 he’s never been more passionate about preaching God’s Word.

Last week we saw Jesus praise Peter for stating that Jesus is the Messiah. This week Peter got knocked down to the lowest level when Jesus called him Satan for rebuking the Lord.

Makes me glad I wasn’t one of the disciples so everyone would know my failings for centuries thereafter.

I don’t think I’d be any different than old Pete. He’d grown up being told the Messiah would get rid of the Romans and set up His kingdom. How in the world could the Messiah lead anybody after he’s dead?

The key is that we need to stop thinking horizontally and start thinking vertically. Sounds like something Pastor Chuck would come up with. Another pitch sent out of the ballpark.

The lessons didn’t come close to stopping after the final Amen from the pulpit.

Every month our Missional Living department holds a lunch and meeting to share what’s happening and how we can get involved. This was one of those weeks I had to go for the free food as much as anything else since my paycheck wasn’t deposited on Friday because of a national holiday. Sorry for venting on you like that.

They brought in a very special guest this week. Peter M. from Moscow, Russia (I’d like to print his last name but I’m afraid I’d embarrass myself by mis-spelling it here.). He’s the president of the Seminary there.

Peter brought in the most amazing thing I think I will ever see in my life. He was generous enough to pass it around so we could see it first-hand. I took a picture of it here.

Russian New Testament and Psalms under communism

Russian New Testament and Psalms under communism

This is the extent Christians had to go through to have any part of the Bible of there own. This is the actual New Testament and Psalms in Russian. Peter demonstrated that it was small enough that a person could hold in their fist while the house and pockets were being searched by the government authorities. The magnifying glass was so you could actually read it.

I took that picture on top of my own Bible I’ve been using for nearly 30 years. The can behind it is a twelve ounce can of a popular carbonated beverage.

If you feel ashamed for taking your freedoms so for granted go right ahead. I did as soon as I touched that precious invention.

I have at least five Bibles in my apartment right now and many more books that expound on its teachings, including some I wrote. Most of them are out in plain sight.

America is far from perfect. We’re experiencing some of the worst of it now. It appears our freedom to worship God in our own way is going to remain stable for the foreseeable future.

I have an even better, more secure place to have a Bible in your own language than a palm-sized creation. Hide it your heart by memorizing it in your mind. That way you’ll have it available for the spiritual combat we all face daily.

Yeah, that’s the sword of the Spirit the Bible is talking about.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

Be Extraordinary Consider the Ant

Have you taken the time to consider ants like Solomon tells us to in the book of Proverbs?

The ants in my neighborhood have gotten my attention lately by their weird behavior.

By thinking about how they’ve decided to be extraordinary I’ve chosen to follow their lead and be extraordinary, too.

Watch my video to see exactly what I’m talking about.

Don’t be afraid to be like my ant friends. Don’t be ordinary and “normal” any more than you have to be.

Keep smiling.   Wade

COLLOSSAL FAILURE

“We did what God told us to do. Why didn’t Pharaoh let us go worship God?”

Moses shrugged. “Hopefully the leaders of the people will have some answers for us after their meeting here.”

The door to the palace opened. The Hebrew contingency approached Moses and Aaron.

“You said you were going to lead us out of here and back to the land God promised to Abraham. All you’ve done is make our lives worse. Why don’t you just go back to the desert you came from?”

“First they stop bringing us straw. Then they tell us we have to find our own. Now they demand we keep making the same amount of bricks whether we can find any straw or not.”

“The beatings aren’t worth this false hope you gave us. Just leave us alone.”

Moses watched the men leave.

Aaron grabbed Moses’ sleeve. “What are we going to do now?”

Moses shook his head. “This wasn’t my idea. I need to talk to God to see where we went wrong.”

Moses walked off for solitude. Aaron followed the Hebrews back to Goshen.

When he felt alone Moses dropped to his knees. “Why have You sent me here? Things have only gotten worse. You haven’t delivered Your people at all.”

The voice from God shook Moses’s bones and made the hairs on his arms stand up. “Now you will see how I’ll deal with Pharaoh. Not only will he let My people go, but he will drive them out of his land when I’m done with him. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob knew Me only as God Almighty. You will know Me as YHWY and will become My people. I will be your God as I fulfill My promise to bring you to the land I gave to Abraham.”

********

I’m so glad God included this in Moses’s experience to lead God’s people out of Egypt. He thought all he’d have to do is go in, tell Pharaoh to let God’s nation worship Him and that would be all there was to it.

Don’t we all think like that?

We hear God’s voice, or read a scripture verse that feeds a longing to do something for God. Then we set out to do it knowing God has prepared us for this. Only to be stymied and stopped before we even begin.

How many times have you read this story of Moses leading the people out of Egypt and missed this event?

Failures are not final. Set backs are not set in stone.

Moses kept at it. So must we.

It took ten massive miracles displaying God’s power over all the Egyptian gods before Pharaoh relented to Moses’s request.

Several months passed before Moses saw success.

Don’t be surprised when you see the same seeming failure.

God is building your perseverance, strength and resolve.

When a chick breaks its way out of an egg the struggle builds muscles that bird will need to survive.

Moses would have to intervene for God’s people several times in the next forty years. His sticking to the task now helped him see the bigger picture in the wilderness.

An easy early success leads to a prideful attitude. You’ll start to think you can do this in your own efforts and power.

The more you must trust God to come through for you the more successful you’ll be in the long haul.

Embrace failure as your crutch to lean on God for success.

God introduced another intriguing bit of nuance to His relationship with Moses and His people during this conversation. It occurred with a name change.

Names carry significance in the Bible, especially God’s names.

Adam knew God as God. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob knew God as God Almighty, the God above all other gods.

Many translations of the Bible print this new name for God as LORD with all capital letters.

The Hebrew language didn’t use vowels so this new name came out as YHWH and was pronounced Yahweh. Some folks preferred to say the Y and W with hard tones so they prefer the name Jehovah.

The way this name is pronounced or spelled isn’t as important as the meaning of this new name.

God was now coming down to intercede and intervene for His people. No longer would He come to speak to a single individual on God’s timetable.

Beginning with this prayer Moses approached God with an issue and God replied to the item at hand.

Moses would later speak to God on a mountain, then in the Tent of Meeting while in the wilderness.

God would lead His people with a cloud and give them guidelines to live by.

But, first He had to display His power to the Egyptians to prove His dominance and dominion.

God Almighty was becoming more approachable and real.

Now that we live on the other side of the cross where the final transaction was accomplished with the phrase, “It is finished.” We are adopted into God’s spiritual family and we call Him “Abba.”

It’s a very intimate name that’s the first century equivalent to Daddy today.

God is still very much dominant, preeminent and powerful. There is no other higher than Him.

But, with the adoption papers signed with the blood of Jesus He’s not only approachable He’s as intimate as a father.

The Creator of the universe who spoke everything into existence desires our attention.

He gave us the Bible to not only see the relationship change throughout the centuries, but to give us guidelines to live by and to speak to us today.

Prayer is our means of expressing our emotions and desires to Him.

Jesus gave us an example of how to live this out when He would go off by Himself to pray.

I’ll never forget seeing my mom reading her Bible in the middle of the kitchen while us seven kids ran through the house playing on winter days.

Take your relationship with God seriously enough to make a difference.

I’ll see you later.   Wade

El Paso Lessons From an 18-wheeler Driver

Texas has some extremely diverse landscapes.

If you love the ocean life we can deliver it with, or without, a barrier island.

If you prefer hills and trees the east side is for you.

Vast farm land is in our western counties.

Rugged hills are in our mid-section.

I live in Plano. It was so named by the founders of the city because they thought the word plano was the Spanish term for plane. I don’t know what it would have been named if they’d done their homework.

Two weekends ago I enjoyed time in God’s green nature near Tyler. The stately pines along Lake Palestine always re-ground this old country bumpkin.

Last Thursday I was finishing a painting job in Plano when I received a phone call from a dispatcher I bailed out by covering for a driver who couldn’t drive his route earlier in the week.

I was given a choice of where he needed a driver on Friday. I could go to Shreveport in the afternoon or El Paso in the very early morning.

I’ve been itching to experience the awesome mountains God placed in our western panhandle. I chose west.

Normally I either get my breath taken away on the trip out or the return home because of the ten hour layover the federal government mandates me to take.

Notice I said “normally.” Those of y’all who’ve been following this blog for very long know that normal and Wade Webster don’t coexist very long on the same plane.

The three and a half hour nap I took that evening was barely sufficient to keep me awake through the flat stretch of my journey.

Once the sun was up and I saw those mountains I was wide awake.

I shut my truck off while they unloaded my trailer. Too many hours and a new alternator later I was on my way to set that empty trailer at the post office then off to my motel room.

El Paso is situated on a very interesting geographical setting. The post office is next to airport. That’s on the north side of the city because it’s also the highest part of the area. Apparently there’s also enough of a plano for the planes.

The sun was setting behind both the Mexican and American mountains as I drove up to the post office. By the time the government paperwork was complete it was dark.

Coming down McCrae hill at night holds an extremely interesting phenomenon. El Paso is where the Rio Grande begins to separate a first-world nation from a third-world one.

The yellow and white street lights in Juarez cover several square kilometers. It reminds me of a sequined dress a shapely senorita would wear to capture the attention of everyone in the same room with her. Almost as breath-taking as God’s mountains.

I wish there were fewer business signs in America screaming for my attention. They block too much of my view. I’m pretty sure there aren’t any such signos south of the border, just street lights.

When I left with my load Saturday morning I had to lower my visor to block the sun from my eyes. The view to my right was shrouded in a thick layer of dust. Last night’s senorita had become an old hag know. The dirt road dust aged the girl too quickly.

I wondered if they knew how poor their air quality was. Then I wondered how bad the scene looked that I was driving in.

Several years ago I lived in Tucson, Arizona. I worked as a day laborer. That meant I often was on building sites picking up debris. When I worked in the city I didn’t notice any changes in the air.

Then one day I worked on the mountain range on the north side of town. I could see the entire city from there. It was impressive in the morning.

As the day progressed the view regressed and I became depressed. The smog that engulfed Tucson stole the southern view completely.

The world we live in is like that. The dirty filth we live in is all around us. It’s such a part of our life we simply ignore it. We go about our day letting it cover us. We breathe it in without filtration. It ages us too quickly while we do nothing about it.

Jesus shocked his followers one day with the remedy for this predicament. One day after a meal He quietly stood and wrapped a towel around His waist. Then He proceeded to wash each foot in the room.

When Peter made a fuss and demanded a complete bath Jesus told him only his feet needed a regular cleansing. The daily dirt accumulation was what needed constant attention.

The Creator of man wrote a guidebook for us to live by. Daily time taking in God’s truth will do remarkable things for your health, both your spiritual and physical health.

Don’t just read the Bible to say you read it. No. Look for what God is telling you to do. It’s often the opposite of what everyone else is telling you to do.

Filter your actions through what God wants you to do first. If it contradicts what the world asks of you then let the Bible rule in your decisions.

Don’t be surprised when you stand out as a shining example to others. As God’s children we’re called to be different.

The jewels we’ll receive in our heavenly crowns will far out-shine anything this filthy world has to offer us.

Prepare your head for your heavenly destiny. Fill your crown by living for God now.

Keep smiling.   Wade

The 2016 Stonebriar Men’s Retreat is in the Books as Another Winner

I just returned home from this years’ men’s retreat put on by my church. Okay, it’s not strictly my church or it wouldn’t be much of a retreat. Can one person really enjoy teaching himself new things from the Bible?

Stonebriar Community Church is the organization I chose to be included in their membership. Therefore, it’s my church and a whole bunch of like-minded individuals.

Now that we have that cleared up do you mind if I continue to tell you about my experience in east Texas?

I guess it’s too obvious I just spent the past few days around guys who had no women folk telling us what we had to do.

That’s just one of the reasons some of us look forward to this annual event. The clean air and slower pace is another perk.

The food was excellent, as usual. I guess the folks at Pine Cove know if you feed us well we’ll come back.

I made sure I thanked some of the people who volunteered their weekend to work in the kitchen for us.  They said our group is the best one in showing our gratitude in that way. Now you know why I’m so proud to be included among these fine gentlemen.

I informed the set up team this may be Clifford’s, the big red van, last retreat before we left Frisco. I have a suspicion I’ll have to keep patching him up rather than replace him anytime soon. He may be back, too.

Going out a day early does come with a few advantages. For one thing we don’t take ourselves too seriously. Yeah, that means we laugh a lot.

On Thursday afternoon we went into Tyler for snack supplies. After that was loaded it had been decided we’d eat at a Tex-Mex restaurant. Somebody brought up the GPS directions on their phone and discovered it would take us ten minutes to get there from where we were.

So Les pulled over and had them use their phone to see if there was something closer to us. Five minutes later the wheels on the van were going round and round again to the original eating choice. Yeah, sometimes it feels like I’m back with the toddlers on Sunday morning in the summer not grown adult men.

Anyway, the curmudgeon in me reared his snarly head and I said. “You realize we could have been half way there by now if we hadn’t stopped to find something closer.”

They laughed so I quickly pointed out that I didn’t have as much in reserve as they did. In other words I was hungry.

When the conversation later turned to how many extra calories we always eat on this weekend I told them that’s why I don’t eat anything the rest of the year, so I can fit these God-honoring calories in without guilt.

For the record I was the only one of us who fit into a medium tee shirt. And it even bagged on me a bit.

My testosterone levels must have jumped up a bit because when I got home I did my typical exercises before I go for a run. I usually pump out 40 full push ups. This time I did 50. Maybe I needed those extra calories more than I wanted to admit to.

I went for my annual walk in nature Saturday afternoon after a nap that was much briefer than I thought it would be. I realized I felt much different than I have in past years. I’m often tired from either being wound up from life events or wound down by life events.

For some reason I felt content and at peace even though life events have me too frequently working all day then driving through the night before I repeat without either lathering or rinsing. Sorry, it’s a guy thing that carried over from the weekend.

Staying true to who I am I found a plastic shopping bag in the woods and filled it with trash on my walk back to camp. Just doing my part to leave the world a better place than I found it in.

The theme for the weekend was God’s Blueprint for Men. We looked at several verses that show how we’re made in the image of God.

The verse that hit closest to home was in Jeremiah 3. That’s where God says He wrote the northern kingdom, Israel, a certificate of divorce.

I know Jesus is our high priest who intercedes for us because He experienced what we all do. It was at that moment I realized even God experienced a divorce.

The reason that hit me so hard is I’m only thirteen months removed from the Collin County court system finalizing my wife’s divorce from me, and I’m just over two months away from surviving what’s supposed to be our 30th wedding anniversary.

On Saturday evening I detoured from the small group discussion we normally have after a session. I walked on the dock to lie down on one of the new benches they built on it to let the experience sink in. We were also shown that we’re to shine like stars so I wanted to soak up the clear night sky for that impact.

As I was lying back I witnessed a star fall from the sky. I prayed it wasn’t mine. I grieved my loss again and allowed the tears to roll onto my temples.

I don’t know how non-Christians cope in this world because my heavenly Abba and I have a relationship that is the only thing that keeps me going most days.

I keep volunteering to do some behind the scenes activities for the men’s retreat so other men can grow in their relationship with God through Jesus Christ, too. For many of them this will be an experience that will do it best.

God always meets me at these retreats. I can’t wait to see how it will occur next time.

Keep smiling.   Wade

There is at least one advantage to living a non-routine life

God calls some folks to live ordinary lives.

He ordains them to be accountants because they like working with numbers and helping people keep their taxes straight.

He makes some to enjoy playing with Dremmel tools in victims’ mouths so they’re dentists their entire working lives.

Farmers love working the soil and watching plants and animals grow.

Teachers make a career passing on information they know the next generation will put to use someday.

And then there’s Wade Webster, that truck driving painter who writes books, poems, songs and such while he volunteers at church during his spare time.

Whew, he makes me tired just reading that sentence. Wait a second…that’s me we’re talking about.

The past two Thursdays I’ve gone to work with the Apainter Paul. He landed a big job about two miles from my apartment.

The first three days were spent staining the fence. The last section was what Paul called Normandy Beach because it was going to entail casualties of some kind.

Some well-established rose bushes thrived by that section while poison ivy grew through the fence boards. Shortly after I began on that part I told the Apainter I had thorns on the left of me, ivy to the right and there I was stuck in the middle with paint.

Now you got that song stuck in your head. At least you didn’t have to listen to Paul sing it the rest of the afternoon.

Any way…by the time I left the painting job I had a driving assignment handed to me that entailed being behind the wheel of an 18-wheeler by midnight to go to Memphis, Tennessee.

Paul warned me to steer clear of the poison ivy while I invaded Normandy. I told him I hoped I did get into the ivy.

He says, “But that will be miserable.”

I says, “Yeah, but the itching will help me stay awake tonight/tomorrow morning.”

The good news is I got poison ivy alright. The bad news is it didn’t start itching until I go to my motel room just before noon on Friday.

Even with three phone interruptions and some very loud guys in a room next to mine I think I got about five hours of sleep by six o’clock.

After I put earplugs in I fell back to sleep and didn’t open my eyes until after four thirty Saturday morning.

For those of y’all whose math teacher would not be proud of you right now, that’s about 15 hours of sleep…with poison ivy itches. It shattered my record of 13 hours I set just a few months ago across the street from that motel room.

This week I squeezed in about eight hours of broken sleep during the 13 hours I was in the motel bed. Ain’t nothin’ predictable in my life.

I am sooo looking forward to next weekend’s annual men’s retreat I help with. Even if I get stuck with more than one guy who snores in my cabin I’ve proven I can sleep with earplugs in.

Yes, there are times I want to trade places with some bored sap with an extremely predictable lifestyle. At least he’s familiar with the bed he sleeps in.

But, then I think, That guy probably has his life so mapped out he worries about everything. Will he have enough to retire on? Will his roses bloom next summer? Will his annual doctor’s appointment come with a surprise?

I know I’ve quoted this verse a few times here before but it applies again. Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own.

There are some mornings I wake up and have nothing planned to do. God has me so trained to trust him now I know my rent will be paid at the end of the month. Many months it barely gets paid, but it gets done. It’s like a supply of manna. Just enough for my need at just the right time.

My non-routine life does come with an extremely hefty dose of prayers. Most of my driving assignments start with: “Okay God, I can’t do this on my own strength. I need you to help me out with this one. Of course, I guess I need Your strength to take my next breath, too. Alright, I’m Yours to use as You see fit.”

Yeah, me and God have an unusual relationship. It’s been established and honed most of my entire life.

I still attempt to make plans, but I’ve learned to write my plans in pencil. I used to have a big eraser near by to fit in God’s plans when they come along. Now that big eraser is worn to a tiny nub.

Jesus’s life wasn’t predictable. Why should I expect mine to be? Especially since I gave God reign and rule of my entire being.

So don’t worry about that poison ivy, but expect the itching to linger more than a week. God has a purpose for that, too.

I just came across another verse in my email that fits here:

1 Peter 5:6-7 “Humble yourselves, then, under God’s mighty hand, so that he will lift you up in his own good time.  Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you.”

Now I’m wondering when this lifting up will take place. Hopefully before I fall asleep behind the wheel for more than a second and after this wretched itching stops.

Keep smiling.   Wade