I was reminiscing today about a time way back in the fifth grade. It was Mr. Tanner’s science class and we were going to launch our very own rockets. I was excited about mine. It wasn’t fancy… just a simple rocket. The Wizard. I can’t remember what color I painted it or anything, though. What I do remember is the day we were building them in the classroom and the day we launched them. I remember not really wanting to read the instructions because they didn’t really make sense to me and I was already way behind the other students. They were mostly all showing off their finished product and I was still trying to figure mine out. So I turned to a very busy Mr. Tanner and asked, “What do I do next?” He asked me something, or at least I thought he was asking me something, I answered, and he replied “Stuff it. Put the stuffing in.” So I did that. I put the stuffing in. I remember it looking something like maybe cottony stuff. I did the rest of the steps, and finally within a few minutes I looked proudly at my finished rocket. I just knew that it was going to go so high we’d lose sight of it until it parachuted down! I was ready for launch day!
Launch day came and one by one students placed their rockets on the launch pad. One by one we watched as rockets whizzed off of the launch pad, way up as if reaching the clouds, and then the parachute would launch and they’d gracefully float back down to earth. We’d all run to get the launched rocket smelling like gun-powder and excitement! Then it came my turn. I placed my rocket on the launch pad. We all stepped back and excitement grew within me. This was the rocket that was going to reach the greatest heights! I just knew it. Countdown started… 10… 9… 8… 7… 6… 5… we’re getting close! 4… 3… 2… 1… BLASTOFF!!! Unfortunately my rocket barely made it 10 feet, maybe, off the ground and it blew up! The entire tail end of my rocket was no more! My teacher looked at me and asked what I did, and I told him how I’d packed it and then placed the rest of the parts in. He asked me why on earth I packed it first. And I replied because you told me to! Apparently my teacher had been so busy that day that maybe he hadn’t heard me at all! Maybe he hadn’t understood my question! But whatever the case, not following the directions and listening to a teacher with his own situations left me with a rocket comprised of only the tip and part of the word Wizard. My rocket was so unrecognizable that I ended up taking my picture with someone else’s rocket while mine lay in many pieces scattered on the ground.
I know that this has no personal meaning to you. After all it wasn’t your rocket! BUT! If we look at the rocket in a different aspect. A different light can shed a whole new meaning! Imagine that I am you. My rocket is your moral dilemma, problem, or current mountain you are trying to navigate your way up. Imagine my teacher as your many friends, family, and spiritual leaders in your life. Imagine those rocket instructions as the Bible. And finally imagine all the students who had already assembled their rockets, laughing and showing them to one another, as your peers in life. Those people who live and exist all around you who according to their “rockets” they’ve gotten it all together and perhaps you’re left standing their holding pieces of your “rocket” trying to figure out how to put it together.
This is the way God used my rocket story for myself. Like I said in my last blog, God is telling me that He’s still teaching me. This time He is using my own past to teach me a lesson. Had I not turned to my teacher and asked what next, and had I not given up on the instructions written to build and complete a successful rocket, then perhaps my rocket would have reached wonderful heights and glided down by parachute to a safe and peaceful landing. Life is much like this when you think about it. When we face a brick wall in life, or maybe can’t figure out the way around or through a situation, what do we oftentimes do? We turn to a friend, a family member, or perhaps someone in our church. As a 5th grader I thought that my teacher should have the answers no matter what! After all, he’d built many rockets before! Sometimes in life we see others living and we think, I bet they would know how to help me! We see their external beings, but not the inward chaos that might just be lurking under the surface! They could be like my teacher who was, in hindsight, very distracted with his own situation… lots and lots of 5th graders vying for his attention. So when I asked him my question it just kind of blended in with all the other problems he was trying to solve. He was the teacher, but at the moment he had more on his plate than I realized! His answer to my question blew up my rocket! His answer caused me to derail from the instructions because I figured he’d done this many times, and I trusted him. I didn’t read the instructions, trusted another source, and my rocket blew up into many many pieces. Was it his fault? Absolutely not! After all, like I said I am the one who deviated from the instructions!!!
Have you ever asked someone for guidance and not looked into the scriptures, or the instructions? Or maybe sometimes we need to just turn to the author of the instructions! Yes, sometimes God does lead us to people, but I am learning that the whole hindsight is 20/20 saying is so very accurate. I’ve re-examined my past. I’ve too often turned to friend, family, and even church leaders for answers to problems and questions that I should never have turned to them for. I should have read the instructions!!! I should have turned to the author of the instructions!!! Had I done this, there would be less rocket fragments in my past, and more peaceful landings! We need to get back to the instructions! The Bible! We need to get back to the author, God!!!
There is a saying: When all else fails, read the instructions. I think this should be changed to this: BEFORE all else fails, read the instructions!