When the printer jams…

Are there sounds that you can’t stand? I get tense when I hear a certain beeping. The printers at work flash red lights and demand attention when they are jammed. And I took a lot of paper out of the belly of the printers today.

Kneeling on the carpet in a long dress trying to find all the accordion-folded sheets made me appreciate functioning machines. The printers did begin to work better after the head of Women’s Ministry laid her hands on them and prayed. Our Executive Pastor joked about bringing anointing oil. Some days, I think it would really help.

But when I stop and think about it, I would much rather take a few pieces of paper out of a printer rather than having to write everything by hand. It’s a marvel to me how letters on a screen can be translated to foldable, crushable, smearable words on a page. It’s kind of like how the spiritual world meets the physical world. I can look at the results, I can see jams in the process, but I really don’t know how it happens. And only God, like a technician, can really dissect all the gobs of machinery and know how one piece connects to another.

I often forget that. Isaiah 1-5 set quite the pattern of Israel acting horribly and God responding with just punishment. Isaiah 4 has such a beautiful picture of God cleaning and leaving glory. But Isaiah 5 opens with a love song about a vineyard, reminiscent of the Song of Solomon. And it ends with a list of woes against sinful people who rebelled!

“Therefore my people go into exile
    for lack of knowledge;[f]
their honored men go hungry,[g]
    and their multitude is parched with thirst.”

“Woe to those who call evil good
    and good evil,
who put darkness for light
    and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
    and sweet for bitter!”

Jesus told a parable in Mark 12 that uses the same vineyard imagery. Tenants are allowed to lease the vineyard, and end up hurting and killing the Master’s servants and Son. They were expelled!

We live in such a consistently confused world! Often I am jammed up in my understanding of right and wrong, and only God knows how the messed-up will be cleaned and changed into something functional and beautiful. But chapter 4 is put in Isaiah for a reason. God sees better than we can. And He will clean all the filth until it is holy and clean. Wow.

God, I  get so frustrated when I mess up over and over again! Thank You that You never get tired of broken people! Thank You for seeing the beauty that You can bring in us! Thank You for lessons in printer jams and accoridon folds! Thank You for how You are working. Amen.

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