Last year right after Christmas, my local hardware store had a clearance on all of their seasonal products. I had been admiring all the candy canes glowing in backyards as I drove around, so I went in and purchased some for the following year. I put them in the closet thinking it would be a long time before I would ever even get to use them until suddenly it was November and unseasonably warm. Because I have struggled to put up lights in frigid bone chilling weather before, I decided to string them up while the weather was still decent.
After examining the instructions which basically showed a small stake being inserted into the bottom of the cane, I got to the task of unwrapping them, pulling off sticky adhesive and plugging them in to one another on the kitchen floor. For good measure I tested them to make sure they lit up, and I was pretty proud of myself when I lined them up in the yard across the front of the house like soldiers in perfect formation.
Amazed at the ease of all of this, I grabbed an extension cord from the garage with much enthusiasm to see my handiwork. When I tried to connect the two, they didn’t fit. I proceeded to dig up every single cord I could find to no avail. Nothing I had was working. Suddenly, my excitement was dying.
“I have to go the hardware store,” I told my daughter.
She knows full well my dislike for not having things work right, and on top of it, I had to go into a store that I consider more for those who like to get their hands dirty.
I brought a cane with me, and upon entering, a young teenage boy asked if he could help me. I explained my story, and with a frown he said,
“We have extension cords over in this aisle.”
He tried the black one, the green one, the brown one and the orange with no luck.
A woman who worked in the store joined him in his pursuit. Another young male crammed into the aisle as we all tried to find the right connection. The store was empty so this was the height of excitement for them. We all were coming up empty handed.
“This plug needs an older model,” the woman said.
“I just bought this in the store last year.”
“I know, but they change things all the time. I don’t know if we are going to have anything for this to work.”
My hopes were plummeting as she and the boys were getting nowhere.
“Jerry, can you come to aisle 4 please?” she said into her device. “I am having the store manager come over. He usually knows what to do.”
A tall dark haired man joined us in our quest to figure out an answer. I was reminded of an old joke:
How many people does it take…..to find an extension cord?
He frowned, he looked up and down the shelves and said, ‘no, nope, no’ as he went along.
I was starting to feel hot in my jacket not just from the warmth of the store but from the stupidity of what was happening. Not aimed at the help I was receiving but in regard to the situation of having something brand new, never used, and with the prospect of it already being out of date.
I peered around a corner and saw that the store was selling the exact plastic product that I had purchased on clearance.
“You are selling these right now, so how are people going to set these up?” I asked him.
“You are the first person to come in here with this problem,” the lady said to me as if this was something to be proud of.
Wonderful news, I thought.
As I followed behind Jerry to another aisle, I whispered to my daughter,
“There has to be a solution to this!”
That is when I said inwardly,
God, I need this fixed right now! I expect an answer to this problem. There must be something that can make this to work.
Suddenly, the man stopped in front of me, went back to the aisle we had just left, and stood there for a second. I saw his head jerk as if someone had slapped him.
“OH! Why didn’t I think of this sooner?”
He reached up and plucked down a large orange object that had many different outlets around it.
“This should help,” he said. With ease the two fit like they were made for one another.
I was able to go home, use this device and stand back and admire the beautiful lights that would not have been possible without getting something new to make them work.
With the fast paced world we live in, we often want to make the ‘old’ fit when times are calling to let in the ‘new.’
Change is inevitable even though some of us want to ignore it or fight it.
There are times when we don’t have a choice. Divorce papers are handed over or a death comes unexpectedly. How do we cope when a large gaping hole suddenly comes and brings despair?
The only thing I have found to work in all situations is prayer whether the change is a good one by my choosing or it is seemingly out of my control.
In Psalm 91:14-15 we are given this great assurance:
14 For the Lord says, “Because he loves me, I will rescue him; I will make him great because he trusts in my name. 15 When he calls on me, I will answer; I will be with him in trouble and rescue him and honor him. (TLB)
The only requirement mentioned is that you love God, and like a good Father, He will help out his children.
As we go along into the next year with unknown situations ahead of us, the most uplifting thing we can cling to is that we can call on our Creator who will not abandon us but will comfort us in our times of sorrow, will guide us in the right direction and will hold our hand when we need to adapt.