Woodshed Wisdom

By Freeman Martin

“Dad, what’s that dinging noise? And that flashing light is gettin’ on my last nerve,” said my mill-hill bride. After we said ‘I Do’ almost 46 years ago, we decided that if God blessed us with children and grandchildren, they would never hear us calling each other by our first names.

It took several trips to the woodshed for me to learn that you better not let your folks hear you calling a grownup by their first name. Even after I was a safe distance away from the shed, we became Mom and Dad to each other. Even before the pitty-pat sound of tiny little feet on linoleum filled the house. When they were young, our grands got quite a kick out of hearing us call each other Mom and Dad. In fact, Sarah-Parker was often heard telling Mimi,”He’s not your Dad, he’s Papa.”  

And we still call each other Mom and Dad. Even now when it’s just the two of us in our side-by-side recliners. With our multiple electronic devices on the table beside us. Hence, the recent commotion and hullabaloo caused by the incessant dinging and flashing light.

So, it was on the third electronic device she picked up that Mom asked about the dinging noise. Dad patiently explained that the noise and light meant that she was receiving a text message from one of the children. Whereupon this mill-hill Mom called both our children to inform them that when they had something to tell her, she wanted to hear their voice. Not some dinging noise and flashing light!

Yes, our kids are right. They’re having to drag Mom and Dad into the 21st Century. Just when it seemed like we could function intelligently in a www-dot-com world, along comes this phenomenon called texting!

I mean, it’s hard enough for my stiff old digits to land on the right key on a regular size keyboard. And now you’re telling me that I have to use a keyboard that’s so small, it fits into my shirt pocket. Where the end of one finger types tygh when all I want is to type the?

The realization has hit us. We’re electronic dinosaurs. It seems like the whole world is sending text messages. Sorta funny, though, to this old country boy. I know some folks who will send a text, and if they don’t get an answering text message immediately, they’ll pick up the phone and call the person and say, “Did you get my text?” HELLO! Why didn’t you just call ‘em in the first place?

I read a story the other day about a teenager who sent or received over six thousand text messages from her cell phone in one month! In fact, I think the number was 6,473! Let’s see now. If I do my gozinto math that I learned at the three-room Return Primary School, 30 gozinto 6,473 for an average of about 215 text messages every single day for a month.

And, according to researchers, the average American teenager with a cell phone sends or receives over two thousand text messages a month! That kind of data just absolutely throws a short-circuit into my hard drive! And when you ask them why they’re inviting arthritis into their young knuckles, teenagers say they just ‘have to stay in touch with my friends.’

Speaking of driving, it should be against the law in every state of the union to text while you’re driving an automobile. Or flyin’ an airplane. Or ridin’ a bicycle, for that matter. Try to imagine this. You’re at 30,000 feet on a flight, say from Atlanta to California. And somewhere over New Mexico, the stewardess, excuse me, the flight attendant, comes on the speaker and says that she’s just received a text from the pilot. My heart would jump up into my throat! Doesn’t the pilot, and the stewardess, too, have a few things more important than sending text messages to each other?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I think there are times when a text can deliver a wonderful message. Like the other day. Our first-born daughter, Kim, sent us a text. And even more amazing, this text had a picture that unloaded, I mean, downloaded itself right there on my cell phone. It was a photograph of Kirby, our number one grandson, holding his letter of acceptance to college. Hallelujah! Praise The Lord! Our prayers were answered!

Speaking of prayers, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we sent as many texts to God as we do to our friends? But instead of using our fingers and thumbs, we just use our lips and hearts. You can do that with both hands on the steering wheel while you’re drivin’ down the road.

I wish I had the know-how to start a spiritual communication phenomenon with God that would sweep the world like texting has done. Instead of texting, though, I think I’d call it wingingit. That means all day long every day in every circumstance and on all occasions, we could be winging up millions of messages to the Lord. Don’t you know He’d be tickled pink to hear from us!

Maybe it’s about a situation at work, or the loss of work. Just wingit. Or family, friends, and neighbors having physical, financial, or marital problems. Just wingit. Maybe you drivin’ down the road and see a wreck. Or somebody who has hit the ‘blue light special.’ Wing one up for them, too. Our preachers and Sunday School teachers and public school teachers definitely deserve our prayers.

And when we go home at night, we could ask each other, “how many times did you wingit today?” Like a preacher told me one time when I told him I was praying for him, “I need the prayers and you need the practice.” The power of prayer can never be under-estimated. It is life changing. Yet it is the most under-used power on the planet.

Taking a lesson from the average teenager, just think what would happen if we ‘texted’ God with our prayers an average of 2,000 times a month! Can I see a show of hands of everyone who prays 500 times a week, asking for God’s correction, direction, and protection an average of 75 times a day?

This is just me, but I think that might be what Paul had in mind when he was writing to his Christian friends, ‘the saints at Ephesus,’ (Ephesians 1:1). And in the third chapter of his letter to them, verses 14-19, Paul told them that he goes to his knees before the Father praying for the strength and power of Jesus Christ to dwell in their hearts.

Paul also prays that his friends will be able to understand how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ for each one of them. A love so big that their cup of life could be filled to the brim and runnin’ over!

And wrapping up his letter, (Ephesians 6:10-18) Paul told them (and us) that the strength and power of prayer is part of the full armor of God that’s available to us in the fight against the forces of evil in this dark world. When we’ve buckled our belt and put on the breastplate and the right shoes, and taken up the shield, the helmet, and the sword, we’ll be able to stand up against the devil and all his schemes and tricks. And when it’s all said and done, we’ll be the ones still standing. IF we do this one thing. Pray all the time, all kinds of prayers, and keep on praying (v.18).

How many times will you wingit today? That’s between you and Jesus. But, could I ask a favor? If you ever run out of anything to pray for, would you to please wing one up for the Woodshed?

I need the prayers and you need the practice!