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October 7, 2020


Some years ago, I took a pottery-making class. In one of the classes the instructor told us that when we are baking the clay item, we were to periodically pull the piece out of the oven and thump it to make sure it was solid. He said, “If it ‘sings,’ it’s ready. If it ‘thuds,’ put it back in the oven.” I wonder, “How many of us feel like we have been thumped lately?”

A couple of weeks ago, Sherry and I were getting things ready to meet Mrs. Donna, Sheryl, and their family for Mr. Bill’s burial at Arlington National Cemetery. We had been busy getting everything ready and at the same time we had several other things we had to do. Finally, checklists were completed, and we were on the road. The first day went very well, even with the Charlotte traffic. The campsite that evening was wonderful, and the setting was perfect for a little relaxation. The next morning, we packed things up and hit the road. In the back of my mind something just did not seem right, but I could not put my finger on it. We were cruising up I-81 and then, in the blink of an eye, I realized what did not seem right. The truck wobbled a little bit. As I began to slow down, white smoke billowed up and the flapping noise grew intensely louder. I immediately pulled off the road, to make sure we were safe. Catching our breath, we noticed the truck was sitting at a strange angle, and it did not take a genius to figure out why. It was a blown tire. That is when I then realized what did not seem right. When we left earlier that morning and got on the smooth Interstate, there was a slight, almost indistinguishable, “thump, thump.” I could sense it but not really hear it. As we traveled, whatever caused that thump, destroyed the tire.

I wonder how many of us have been “thumped” lately? You see, our character is also checked by thumping. Coronavirus causing us angst? Are politics getting under our skin? Did work cut back? That unwanted late-night phone call? Going back to school? Burnt meals? Can’t quite understand the “why’s” of current times? Those are all thumps. They are those irritating inconveniences that trigger the worst in us. They catch us off guard and make us wonder. They are not big enough to be crises, but if we get enough of them, watch out! Traffic jams. Long lines. Empty mailboxes. Dirty clothes on the floor. Even as I write this, I am being thumped. “Gotta get this done!” Thump! “What is going on with this?” Thump! “I can’t believe I forgot to do that!” Thump! When these happen, how do I respond? Do I sing? Or do I thud? How about you?

Jesus said that out of the nature of the heart a man speaks (Luke 6:45). There is nothing like a good thump to reveal the nature of a heart. The true character of a person is seen not in momentary heroics but the thump-packed humdrum of day-to-day living.

As a reminder to all of us, if we tend to thud more than we sing, take heart. The true character of a person is seen not in momentary heroics but the thump-packed humdrum of day-to-day living.

Thank goodness there is hope for us “thudders.” First, we begin by thanking God for thumps. I do not mean a half -hearted “thank-you.” I mean a jump-for-joy, rejoicing kind of “THANK-YOU” from the bottom of our heart (James 1:2). We need to always remember that God is allowing a little thumping, and He is doing it for our good. So, every thump is a reminder that God is molding us (Hebrews 12:5-8). Second, let us learn from each thump. You see, none of us are “thump-proof.” We are going to be tested from now on, so let us learn from the thumps because we cannot avoid them. Let us look at each inconvenience as an opportunity to develop patience and persistence. Each thump will help us or hurt us, depending on how we use it. And third, let us be aware of “thump-slump” times. Know your pressure periods. For me, Mondays are infamous for causing thump-slumps. Fridays can be just as bad. (In fact, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday present their own “thumps”). For all of us, there are times during the week when we can anticipate an unusual amount of thumping. And the best way to handle thump-slump times is head-on.

You see, we can bolster ourselves with God’s gift of prayer, patience, and perseverance. In other words, never give up and remember, no thump is disastrous. All thumps work for good as we are loving and obeying God. (Romans 8:28 David’s version) WOW! I am thankful that God knows I still need some “thumping!”

Pastor David .