I have a brand new oven...that doesn't work! Something is wrong with the touch screen panel. Of course, it is covered under warranty, but by the time a serviceman came out, assessed the problem, and ordered the part, several weeks have gone by. No cookies, no pizza, no bread. Thankfully it is the middle of summer and not during the fall holidays, or I'd be in a world of hurt. Truth be told, I'm not much in the mood to do any baking with the Bakersfield triple-digit heat.
Still, the fact remains that I have a defective oven. It needs to be fixed. It is broken. We first noticed that the touch screen panel wasn't working properly just as I was about to pop in some biscuits for breakfast. We were able to get it working again with a reboot of the system. We thought the problem was resolved, but the issues continued to occur at random. That's when we called for service. As we have been waiting for the part to come in, some strange things have been happening.
First, the touch screen started scrolling through some sort of willy-nilly display pattern. Sometimes the time on the clock would shine brightly, sometimes very faint, and then not at all. The right side of the screen would light up, then the left side would shine. At times both sides would be displayed. It was a little comical. What wasn't funny at all was when it started singing. You know that sweet little melody that lets you know that your computerized appliance is responding to your finger's command? Except, we were not touching it! About every 30 seconds the song would float through the air. It was driving us crazy!
There is a point to telling you all of this. A couple of days into its musical debut, I was reading Philippians 4:4, "Rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice!" My Bible study notes were talking about how Paul was the perfect example of perseverance and joy. He was in prison when he was writing to the church in Philippi. Throughout his letter, he emphasized over and over again the need to be joyful. His emphasis was not on his pain and suffering, but on praising God for the things He was doing.
So here's where it connects. I think if we are honest with ourselves, we tend to do just the opposite. We emphasize the pain and suffering instead of praising God and rejoicing in the midst of the affliction. We sometimes miss out on what God wants for us because we are wallowing in our "stuff." We concentrate on what is broken or what we think needs to be fixed instead of the love and mercies we receive every day! I began to think, "What if I sang (or spoke) praise to God every 30 seconds, like my broken oven?" Yes, I would probably annoy a few people, but what a difference in attitude and outlook rejoicing would make!
There's an incident in Luke where the Pharisees were upset because Jesus's followers were rejoicing and praising Him as he entered the city of Jerusalem. They told Jesus that He should rebuke His disciples for their praise. Jesus replied, "I tell you, if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out!" (Luke 19:40). I really want my oven to be quiet, and the appointment has been made to remedy the situation. BUT, I have learned a lesson from this inconvenience. If I keep quiet, perhaps the oven will cry out! I am making a commitment to REJOICE IN THE LORD ALWAYS, even when I'm broken and defective! Will you commit with me?