Friday, June 03, 2011

Nebraska Furniture Mart, Job and Me

I’ve been to Nebraska Furniture Mart so many times in the last week I think I could have driven to Nebraska.
From Montana.

I received an innocent telephone call from my bride last week telling me that she thought our refrigerator was not working properly. She came to this epiphany upon removing a carton of ice cream from the freezer and noticing it to have the same consistency as pea soup.
“Strange,” thought my very perceptive connoisseur of fine ice cream.
And when she grabbed the milk from the other side of the dying side by side, she noticed it to be only slightly cooler than day old molten lava.
“How peculiar!” was her “church newsletter” reaction. (In the spirit of fair and balanced reporting, I wasn’t there at that precise second, so I cannot accurately write what her actual words were. I surmise that she said “How peculiar,” she may have used other words in the heat of the moment.)

Our refrigerator was built during the Bush administration. The first Bush administration. George H.W. Bush. It was time. Apparently things don’t last forever.

So we headed to Nebraska Furniture Mart—whereupon I discovered a store flowing with refrigerators and happy salesmen.

I know how to pick out a car—you kick the tires.
I know how to pick a tomato—if it’s red, grab it.
But how do you pick the perfect refrigerator? There are no tires to kick. There weren’t any red ones.

Back when I was a kid, you could get a refrigerator in any color you wanted—as long as that color was white. But today they sell refrigerators in more colors than even Crayola has -- white, black, stainless steel, silver mist, bisque. Bisque is a color? What’s bisque? There are side by side refrigerators, top freezers, bottom freezers, and freezerless refrigerators. There are French door refrigerators. The French not only have their own fries and kisses, now they have their own refrigerator doors? There are refrigerators that make ice in the doors. Cubed ice. Crushed ice. Some refrigerators have bells and whistles that inform one that they inadvertently left the French doors open. (I told Karla that my checkbook has an alarm that would go off too—if I wrote a check for that particular model. I don’t think she bought it, but we didn’t buy that outrageously priced Lexus of the refrigerator world).

I discovered the good folks at Nebraska Furniture Mart aren’t giving those dispensers of coolness away. So we shopped and we talked and we prayed (we really did). We slept on it (not literally sleeping on the refrigerator―that would be weird). We went to a few other stores and then back to Nebraska Furniture Mart and then back again. We went back so many times; you’d have thought gas prices were under $3.75 a gallon like the good old days.

Finally, we decided on a refrigerator that we hope to have for many years to come--one that will keep our precious ice cream hard as granite and our milk cold as snow.

So why tell you about our refrigerator shopping experience?

Some people look at God like we were looking at refrigerators:
If God can dispense timely good things like crushed ice, we’ll take Him.
If God can fit into our space and go with our d├ęcor, we’ll take Him.
If God can quench our thirst from time to time, we’ll take Him.
But don’t over step your bounds, God.
Don’t be more than a convenience to my mostly organized life.
Just be there when I need you, but when I don’t need you, don’t bother me (no offense).
And above all else… don’t cost too much, God.
I think God demands a little more than that. He is not Maytag Almighty—but God Almighty.

God was taking issue when Job was getting a little demanding with Him. And finally God said to Job in chapters 38-41 basically this (which could have been a Motown song, well actually it is a Motown song): Who do you think you are, Mr. Big Stuff?

After reading those chapters, you’ll come to this conclusion (which Job came to): God is God, and you are not God. Trust Him with the big stuff. Trust Him in the small stuff. And life (even life with its broken refrigerators and everything else) will be much better when you simply trust that He is at work in the midst of all things. It’s becoming like Paul who said in Philippians 4:13 (The Message): I've learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I'm just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I've found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am.