I groaned with the U-Scan machine’s millionth “Please wait for assistance.” Today was seriously not going well for me. I thought the young cashier that came over to help was going to punch the machine. After all, it was probably her zillionth time. She took my package of toilet paper from me and tried to get it to register. As she did, the plastic packaging caught on the side of the scanner and tore. Both too sick of dealing with the machine to complain, the girl and I sighed simultaneously as the item rung-up correctly. I placed the toilet paper back on the bottom rack of my cart, paid, and headed for the door. I just wanted to go home!
Barely outside the door, the toilet paper package began sliding off the cart. A man commented as he passed, “You might not want to leave that on the bottom.”
Oh really? I thought. Thanks for the tip, but what else am I to do? I just want to go home!
I stubbornly pushed the package back on the cart, tried to act like I dealt with toilet paper packages falling off my grocery cart every day, wiped the raindrops off my face, and started again for my car on the far end of the parking lot. I thought I was doing pretty well, the package having not fallen off the front, when I rounded the line of vehicles and my little car came into view. Until my toe hit something. I looked down and froze.
There lay an empty toilet paper roll.
I closed my eyes and turned around slowly. The moment seemed like an eternity as I looked up and saw the white line stretching between my cart and the front door of the store. Sheepishly, I grinned my bravest grin at the elderly man in a wheelchair nearby, who was regarding my plight with amusement. He burst out in a large laugh.
Putting my groceries in the car, I retraced my steps, very embarrassed. I never knew how much toilet paper is actually on a double roll. Finally finished picking up the seemingly endless line, I threw the big white ball into a nearby recycle bin. Maybe that would make my predicament look a little better! ?
Later on, while reflecting on this new, “most embarrassing moment,” the Lord brought my thoughts to an allegory. How often I ignore the advice of the Lord in my own life, stubbornly thinking I know a better way. When in the “parking lots” of life, the times of waiting, I want to rush ahead and do my own thing. I think life is going well, until my foot hits something and I land flat on my face. It’s in those moments, when I look back and see the mess I’ve made of things and humbly have to go back and pick up the pieces, that I see the infinite wisdom of my God’s ways. Just as the toilet paper had to be thrown away, the time I spend apart from God is time I’ve thrown away. And yet, God can recycle the time, and somehow or another, He always works even my mistakes into good. What a great God I serve!
Is God using the resources in my life? Or is my life being spread out doing things not in His will? Am I listening to Him in the parking lots of my life or am I making quick decisions and headed for disaster? I think toilet paper will be a constant and practical reminder to me to follow God’s will from now on! ?