A Perfect Mistake
by: Cheryl Walterman Stewart
My Mother’s father worked as a carpenter.. On this particular day, he volunteered to build some crates to hold the clothes his church was sending to an orphanage in China. When he finished building the crates, he helped pack them full of clothing and load them on the trucks that would take them to the shipping docks. He felt good that he could contribute to the project, even in a small way.
On his way home, he reached into his shirt pocket to find his glasses. They were gone. He mentally replayed his earlier actions and realized what had happened. The glasses had slipped out of his pocket unnoticed and fallen into one of the crates. His brand new glasses were heading for China!
The old carpenter had very little money, certainly not enough to replace his glasses. He was upset at the thought of having to buy another pair. “It’s not fair,” he told God as he drove home in frustration.
Several months later, the director of the Chinese orphanage came to speak at the old carpenter’s small church. He began by thanking the people for their faithfulness in supporting the orphanage.
“But most of all,” he said, “I must thank you for the glasses you sent last year. You see, the Communists had just swept through the orphanage, destroying everything, including my glasses. I was desperate. Even if I had the money, there was simply no way to replace those glasses. My coworkers and I were much in prayer about the situation. Then your crates arrived. When my staff removed one of the covers, they found a pair of glasses lying on top.”
The missionary paused long enough to let his words sink in. Then, still gripped with the wonder of it all, he continued, “Folks, when I tried on the glasses, it was as though they had been custom-made for me! I want to thank you for your thoughtfulness and generosity!”
The congregation listened, pleased about the miraculous glasses. But the missionary surely must have confused their church with another, they thought. There were no eyeglasses on their list of items to be sent overseas.
But sitting quietly in the back, with tears streaming down his face, was an ordinary carpenter who on an ordinary day was used in an extraordinary way by the Master Carpenter himself.
God can use us in ways we might not expect. Even when things go wrong, we can trust that “in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).
It’s hard to explain why bad things happen to God’s people. But we can expect that they will. Rain falls on good people the same way it falls on bad people (Matthew 5:45). As Christians, what sustains us is knowing that God is capable of turning the bad into good. He just asks us to trust him.