Russ Ray

Trying to become more like Jesus

The first and last tool in the toolbox


836387_R_Z0012 stories:

I have a bad habit at home. When I need to nail something into the wall, I grab the first tool that’s handy, heavy and sturdy (even if it’s not a hammer).

I’ve hammered nails with pliers.

I’ve hammered nails with the end of a screwdriver.

I’ve hammered nails with a dictionary.

Usually I can get away with it because drywall is soft and weak. However, the time that I tried to hammer a nail with the end of a solid Craftsman screwdriver and completely missed the nail (while striking my fingers straight and true), I decided that it was probably worth taking the extra 2 minutes to go get my hammer out of the garage.

I like my hammer anyway. It’s from Black and Decker, it fits my hand well, and when I use it, I imagine to myself that it’s what Thor feels like when he summons Mjolnir and fights alongside the Avengers.

That’s nearly true, because the hammer is insulated, and if I were somehow able to call down thunder with it, it might not shock me.

Fast forward to this past weekend… we rented a boat in Tennessee and took the family out on a lake. We stopped at several places during the ride, and as the day went on, the motor became more and more stubborn about starting. In fact, at one point, I would imagine that I tried about 30-40 times to get the motor to turn over.

I tried every trick in the book I could think of… I kept moving the gear shift in and out of neutral.

I turned the key with varying degrees of speed and force.

I choked the engine (not literally, but I figured that choke option on the key might have meant something important when you can’t start it).

I stared at it, hoping (I guess) that I would frighten the instrument panel into submission.

Then, my wife suggested that we pray. WHAT A NOVEL IDEA.

We didn’t do anything crazy in the boat. We didn’t open up the back panel and lay hands on the motor (probably would have burned us anyway). We didn’t speak in tongues. We didn’t read Jonah 1:13–16 and draw lots to choose someone to throw overboard.

We just took 20 seconds to ask God to help us start the boat so we wouldn’t have to get towed to shore.

And what do you think happened? Yes, the boat started.

Why is prayer the last tool we want to pull out of the toolbox when it’s the first tool that we need?

Here’s to hoping that you will not grab a pair of pliers this week when you need a hammer.


2 thoughts on “The first and last tool in the toolbox

  1. My best friend Chris and I were network administrators for years and years. We always were telling each other stories of late nights stressing about some major outage and how we were about to give up…until we prayed. Seriously…God has fixed our networks more times than I can count.

    • At my old job, I had to do a lot of SQL stuff that I didn’t understand, and for the longest time, I believed that God knew everything but how to write a SQL script. For the longest time, I was also an idiot.

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