Mundane messages?


by Major Terry CamseyDon’t you just love it when something serendipitous happens to make your day? You know, the unexpected yet gratifying things that can happen when you least expect them.

I am a firm believer that, sooner or later, we reap what we sow. Often, we reap where we do not realize we have sown. I had this happen just a few days ago in New York, working with a group of officers and lay leaders on a challenge the territorial commander had laid upon them. One of the young officers asked me if I remembered her and ­ to my shame ­ I could not.

(In defense, I might add that it was probably 24 years since I had seen her and she was a child at that time.)

She reminded me of a visit to a music camp in the USA Eastern territory, all those years ago. We had decided to produce a youth musical during the camp and I had given her a lead role. She told me that the event occurred at a very difficult time in here life but it had a profound impact upon her.

Now, as I say, I didn’t remember her although I did remember the camp and doing the musical. It was, however, nice to receive “flowers” this side of the grave. I know that it will be wonderful when we do finally get to heaven and meet all the people we have unconsciously influenced for good either directly or through someone else. It is very encouraging, however, to experience a little taste on earth of what that will be like.

God has ways of “breaking through” to us in the most unexpected ways at times…sometimes through the most seemingly mundane things that he chooses as a medium for communication.

Many years ago, The Salvation Army songbooks in the UK used to carry a little phrase embossed on the front… “Not to be taken away.” A nice way of asking people not to steal books!

Some of you will know that Beryl and I lost a little daughter to leukemia when she was three years of age. During a prayer time in a beautiful committal service, before she was cremated, my eye was drawn to a little phrase embossed on the hymnbook of the all-denominational chapel. “Not to be taken away,” it said. My first thought was that the statement was not true…our child had been taken away. Almost as soon as that thought flashed through my mind, God serendipitously added a couple of words to the phrase so that the message I clearly received was “Not to be taken away…forever.” The thought has stayed with me for over 30 years because it confirms a hope that we shall meet again some day in a better place.

Yes, through the seemingly most mundane things of life we can be challenged or comforted.

Our microwave has many “buttons” on it. Two of them fascinate me. One says “Push off” and the other says “Press on”! I don’t care much for the “get lost” sentiment of the first, but the second can be a source of encouragement at times.

Our dryer also has a couple of intriguing instructions around one of the controls. The first says “Cool down,” which can be a little beyond my wife’s control when doing the washing in a small laundry room in ninety degree weather conditions. The second says, “Wrinkle out.” I’m sure there is a message there for me. I don’t know what “wrinkle out” means (I suspect it means “chill out!”), but I keep thinking about it.

While in a Souplantation restaurant for lunch a little while ago, my attention was drawn to a little card on the table, intended to be used as a communication tool for patrons. On one side it reads, “All finished.” On the other side it reads, “I’ll be back.” At this Easter season, it seems to me there is a message of hope there for everyone.

Do you see it?

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