Remember when you ran to change into pj’s, brush your teeth and wash your face while the tape was re-winding? I did that tonight. Again. Thanks to Chad Ward, who knew I wanted a VCR to watch old movies we have. He bought one at an auction (at this time I will say a sarcastic thank you to whoever put their tape-eating VCR out there for sale, and it was worth the $3.00 we paid to throw away your stuff); HOWEVER, it was a good thing. Those cables that were labeled (a sincere thank you this time) with silk tape and hand printed ‘video out’, ‘right’, ‘left’, etc, kept telling me something. So, I tried again to connect our old (very very old) VCR to a little Magnavox TV we bought in 2004 to use in the camper. Remember those fine 10 months of camper living? Yes, well I digress…. So, connecting the way the cables were labeled, I have a functioning VCR that I had been meaning to throw away. Never once did I consider selling or unloading my junk on….never mind. Anyway, I am thrilled and so thankful to my son for finding the cables that directed my success! Tonight I watched Stargate. Two nights ago I watched Walt Disney’s Beauty and the Beast. Next, I plan to start on our Back to the Future set. I am a child at heart for sure.
Back to this very old VCR. It is an Emerson that was owned, if my memory serves me, in 1980’s by my Uncle Wade Holley. Sometime in the 1990 era, maybe even before (Jan Middleton, do you recall?) it left Tenn and we came to have it in our possession, through my mother, I think. Next, it left Kentucky, going with our daughter Steffy when she left home and moved to Illinois. After she became modernized to DVDs it came back to us where we did occasionally use it. But then we also moved into the convenience of no re-wind, and I decided to move the VCR to an end table-slash-video center. I had it pictured – TV monitor on top, VCR beneath on a shelf, remote in the drawer – like the teachers used to roll around the room, to the classes’ dread or delight. For several years now I thought it coincidentally malfunctioned at that time, because when I connected the TV cables to it, nothing. Nothing. The color coded cables looked like it was hooked up right. So, the TV went back into the closet, and the VCR has been sitting first, under an entertainment center; then under a bed; and finally on a straight chair in the garage. Each time I looked at it to throw it away, I felt a melancholy plink on my heart-strings. Because it was Uncle Wade’s, and because it had been a family member for so long, moving around with us. Now I think that little plink was an inner voice that doubted the assumed death of our device. And who has time to mess with malfunctioning equipment anyway? I call our Dish selling agent anytime our TV even bats an eye, and either he or our internet carrier has to tell me (AGAIN) to just unplug it. That resets everything and life is back on track. How often do we unplug from our problems so that we can be reconnected to life?
Thinking about those properly labeled cables, I was reminded of how often we go about life thinking we are connected to God, but for some reason, we just aren’t “getting anything out of it”. As the saying goes, “the lights are on but nobody’s home” when it comes to faith. I don’t claim to be an expert on faith, but I do know I’ve grown as I’ve studied God’s Word, and the growing has been good beyond description. I’m thinking I, and many others like me, just needed to adjust the cables. Following our own way, or the world’s suggestions, it may look like the plugs are in the right ports, but would likely leave us with a screen of dancing geometric designs and an ear full of static. Reading God’s instructions, like the labels on the cables, makes all the difference in our connection. I’ve always said that I know God didn’t just make us, wind us up, and then turn us loose to go hither-skither without direction or purpose. He gave us a manual, and in many cases, an instructional video. “Folly is joy to him who is destitute of discernment, but a man of understanding walks uprightly. Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established.” (Proverb 15:21-22) At times, I still have to recheck the connection. My cables may pull loose if I move too far away from God’s Word for a bit. My cables could become frayed if I let the waves of life knock me around too fiercely because I wasn’t keeping my eyes on the Lighthouse. “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.” (James 1:6) If I forgot to tap into His power with daily prayer my cables would surely lose their connection. “Pray without ceasing.”(I Thessalonians 5:17) Clearly, if I want the big picture, I need proper connection.
Connecting the VCR to the television screen, there were three separate plugs on each end of a single unified cable. I saw those three standing for prayer (audio output), studying the word of God (video input) and sharing the wonderful message of His love made perfect in Christ (video output). Using these allows us to enjoy the connection God intended us to have, giving us the most magnificent view of life as it happens.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)
Of course, I could also see those three plugs as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, all making up the single unified Godhead. But that would be for another blogging day.
Meanwhile, I shall enjoy returning now and then to a piece of the past; reliving some great times when our kids were young and one of their favorite weekend activities was to go to the video store, rent a VCR and pick out a couple of movies to take home. As long as we stayed in the sections rated PG we felt pretty safe about what we’d see or hear on those movies. How I wish that were the case today! Wouldn’t it be sadly ironic if I got so wrapped up in watching old movies that I stole time away from my studies in God’s word? I promise I’ll try to keep my cables straight.
If I don’t close and get some sleep, it will take more than a pot of coffee to get me going in the morning! May we go to God, the source of our faith, to plug into His power through his word, daily study and meditation, and prayer. Dear Father, please bless these words to bring glory to You, and bless any who read this, to be fully connected to You through Jesus Your Son. In His name, amen.