The people who staff the complaint department at various businesses must have the patience of Job.
They have to deal with endless customer gripes, like the actual ones listed below.
Computer and electronics help lines have to deal with head-scratchers like these ones:
“The foot pedal for my computer doesn’t work.” (It was the mouse. The customer apparently thought computers worked like sewing machines.)
“My digital camera couldn’t fit everyone I wanted in the photo.” (Perhaps he should just take a step back instead of demanding a refund?)
Restaurant managers have to put up with grievances such as:
“My steak is too steaky tasting.”
“There’s stale chicken in my salad.” (It was a crouton.)
But perhaps hotels and travel agencies have to deal with the most mind-boggling complaints of all:
“There was no sign telling you that you shouldn't get in a hot air balloon if you're afraid of heights.”
“It rained. We didn't know it ever rained in Spain.” (Mainly on the plain?)
“Stonehenge was just a bunch of rocks in a field.”
“The beach was too sandy.”
“Our hotel room had no ocean view.” (It was in the middle of London.)
I guess the customer isn’t always right!
Sometimes God has to put up with a lot of complaints as well. We ask Him:
Have you seen the Milky Way recently?
If you have, you can count yourself among the fortunate.
Astronomers say that light pollution from artificial lights is strong enough in many places to blot out the stars. They’ve calculated that over a third of humanity, and almost 80 percent of North Americans, can no longer see the Milky Way. Indeed, here in Toronto we’re lucky if we can even see the Big Dipper.
Few of us seem to recognize how sad this really is.
Vision scientist Sonke Johnsen does. He wrote:
“The thought of light traveling billions of years from distant galaxies only to be washed out in the last billionth of a second by the glow from the nearest strip mall depresses me no end.”
We seem to devalue the incredible gift of the night skies. We don’t pay it much mind when it’s there. And if we can’t see it any longer, the loss is of little importance to us.
Why is it that losing our connection to the wonder of our galaxy doesn’t seem to bother us? Is it our self-sufficiency? Are we so caught up with our shiny, man-made baubles that we’re blind to our need for something real?
I think this detachment from the cosmos speaks to a spiritual apathy, too.
How is it that we’re indifferent to the awesome gift of the Son of God?
What’s your favourite flower?
Even though I certainly love roses, the tulip holds a special place in my heart. It’s not as showy or fragrant as a rose, but it brings such joy in spring after a long winter.
Among the many types of tulips, I especially like the variegated ones (with multicoloured petals).
But did you know that the dramatic colour combinations of variegated tulips are caused by a virus?
Gardeners had long noticed that tulip petals occasionally “broke” into unusual patterns. But it wasn’t until the late 1500s that botanists realized that the beautiful mixed colouring arising spontaneously in some tulips was actually the result of a disease.
While the tulip-breaking virus causes lovely variegated colouring, it also weakens the tulip bulb, eventually leading to the death of its genetic line.
So how is it that we can still enjoy variegated tulips today? Why haven’t they all died out?
Fortunately, botanists centuries ago learned to graft healthy tulip bulbs onto the diseased or “broken” ones, preserving their lineage. Today, we can enjoy countless cultivars in a dizzying array of colours and patterns.
Doesn’t this remind you of what God does for us?
If you want to know how to get into a proper snit, ask a four-year-old.
I would know.
When I was around that age, I got in a snit about something my Dad had done or wouldn’t let me do.
So I decided to teach him a lesson.
I announced to my Dad, “I’m going to run away from home!”
He replied with a barely suppressed smile, “I’ll help you pack!”
This got me even madder. I bundled some belongings in a bandana and tied it to a stick to prepare for my journey (I must have seen this in a cartoon). I then stormed out of the house dramatically.
I stomped around the backyard for a while to make my point. Eventually, though, I got hungry and had to go back inside for dinner. (Where humble pie was no doubt on the menu.)
What lesson did I learn?
That even though I was mad at my Dad, he provided everything I needed. I had to go back to him. Where else could I go?
In the same way, sometimes we’re unhappy with the way our Heavenly Father is arranging things in our lives.
“We’ve got you surrounded!”
This is always a thrilling moment in an action movie: when the authorities announce to the bad guy that he has no way of escape.
Officers are blocking every exit. Will he surrender, or try to fight his way out? (You’ll have to watch the movie to find out!)
Did you know that God has you surrounded, too?
But in a good way!
Our loving Heavenly Father assures us that He has us covered. He is always with us and surrounds us with His love and care.
As we enter a new year, let’s keep in our minds the ways God has promised to be with us. That way, we can take on the challenges ahead of us knowing that God’s got our back, so to speak.