While the great ice storm of 2007 was blowing and blasting its way across Oklahoma, I was fulfilling a speaking engagement in the sunny warmth of northern Peru. Every time I called my wife, she told of more devastation. Our backyard looked like a disaster area. Wait a minute . . . it WAS a disaster area! Huge oak, pecan and maple tree limbs crisscrossed one another all across the lawn. Smashed under the weight of the limbs, our patio furniture lay as though King Kong had planted his foot squarely on top of it. We had no power, my wife was home alone, and I was thousands of miles away. Still, we ended up feeling blessed. Before and after I returned, family, church members and so many others offered us a place to stay. It was like Acts 2: we had everything in common and shared what we had with each other.
The electricity came back on, the furnace warmed our house, my son came and chopped up the debris, and life was back to normal except for one thing: our television. For some reason, the power outage messed up the small flat screen set we have in our living room. It worked, but the color wasn’t right. No matter how I tried to adjust it, it would not produce the color green. I opened the instruction book and studied the finer points of color correction. The “hue” button has something to do with it . . . I must have missed that day in art class. As I held my remote control and began to adjust the hue, the picture changed from orange to purple. Now, I am not the sharpest tool in the shed, but I don’t think Lassie was a blue dog.
When I noticed the orange cows in the National Geographic special about the Karamajong of Uganda, I decided to look at those instructions one more time. I learned that our television has another button called “saturation.” As I adjusted this control, Lassie’s coat went from royal to navy blue, and the Karamajong’s cows changed from fluorescent orange to mauve. Again, I recognized that something wasn’t quite right. This time, I noticed one more button, “color temperature.” Maybe that one would get us back on track. It did take the blue out of Lassie, but now Timmy was blue and the Karamajong cows a lovely shade of pink.
For two days, I fiddled, making hundreds of adjustments. Tints, contrast, brightness, backlight-all were set and reset in multiple combinations. Finally, I gave up and broke the news to my wife: we would either have to get this set repaired or buy another one, something we really didn’t want to do with the Christmas season upon us. As we sat on the couch discussing our bad fortune, our youngest son, who was staying with us during the power outages in his town, looked up and saw the confusion of color on the screen. He said, “Dad, while you were gone, I hooked up my Xbox to your TV. I may not have gotten all of the wires back into the right place.”
Immediately, I turned the television around. Sure enough, he had the audio plugged into one of the color slots, and the color cables had been reversed. Within a few minutes, I unplugged and replugged each cable into its proper place. When I turned the television back around, guess what? Lassie was her normal color, the cows were black and white again, and the Dallas Cowboys played on the green grass in their blue and white uniforms. The world had returned to its proper order at last. For the rest of the evening, Cathy and I sat watching television together, taking turns admiring the beautiful picture. As for my son . . . he is no longer living with us. If I weren’t saved, I would drive over to his house while he was at work and rearrange the cables on his television.
As I thought about this later, I realized that what happened to our television is exactly what sin does to our lives and families. God has designed us to worship Him. He has sent us the Holy Spirit so that we might have His fruit of love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. What does sin do? It rearranges the Creator’s cables and messes up the picture. We spend so much time trying to fix it . . . when all the time, the answer lies in His Son.
This year, work in alignment with the way the Designer has wired you. Let His Son repair your life. Your picture will become clear and your life . . . fine-tuned.