What to do when you don’t know what to do

Chippie the Parakeet never saw it coming. One second he was peacefully perched in his cage. The next he was sucked in, washed up, and blown over.

The problem began when Chippie’s owner decided to clean Chippie’s cage with a vacuum cleaner. She removed the attachment from the end of the hose and stuck it in the cage. The phone rang and she turned to pick it up. She’d barely said “hello” when “sssopp!” Chippie got sucked in.

The bird owner gasped, put down the phone, turned off the vacuum, and opened the bag. There was Chippie, still alive but stunned.

Since the bird was covered with dust and soot, she grabbed him and raced to the bathroom, turned on the faucet, and held Chippie under the running water. Then realizing that Chippie was soaked and shivering she did what any compassionate bird owner would do. She reached for the hair dryer and blasted the bird with hot air. Poor Chippie did not know what hit him.

A few days after the trauma, the pastor of the bird owner, who knew of the event, came calling to see how Chippie was recovering. “Well” she replied. “Chippie doesn’t sing much anymore. He just sits and stares.”

It’s hard to see why not. Sucked in, washed up, and blown over, that’s enough to steal the song from the stoutest heart.

Can you relate to Chippie? Most of us can. One minute you are seated in familiar territory with a song on your lips, then the pink slip comes. The rejection letter arrives. The doctor calls. The divorce papers are delivered. The check bounces. A policeman knocks at the door.

Sssopp! You’re sucked into a black cavern of doubts, doused with the cold water of reality, and stung with the hot air of empty promises. The life that had been so calm is now so stormy. You’re hailstormed by demands. Assailed by doubts. Pummeled by questions. And somewhere in the trauma, you lose your joy. Somewhere in the storm, you lose your song.

Ever found yourself in a storm of life? Is Chippies story, your story? If so, try this for some good news. It’s from the book of Job. Job had a ‘Chippie event’ in his life. He too was sucked in, washed up, and blown over.

Job’s faith in God is what pulled him through his storms. He expressed it in these words: “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” (Job 1:21d).

The last chapter of Job’s life is the best, and always is for people of Job-like faith. ”So the Lord blessed the latter end of Job more than the beginning.” (Job. 42:12a).

What to do when you don’t know what to do? Stay focused like Job, even when you are having a ‘Chippie event.’

First Church of the Nazarene, 990 Ste. Rte. 41 S.W., Washington C.H., Ohio 43160.

Sunday School: 9:30 a.m. Worship 10:30 p.m., Sunday Night Live 6 p.m.

Wednesday Prayer and Praise 7 p.m.

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By Vernon E . Hurles

Religion Columnist