I have an unusual object framed and hanging on the wall in my office. Almost without fail, when someone new sees it, I get the question, "What is that?", or, "What's the story on that?"
The object is a child's hammer, or at least what is left of it. It is weather-worn and discolored. It has a red rubber head, and a short piece of the handle remains. The handle was broken years ago. About forty years ago to be exact. (CLICK HERE for a photo of the hammer)
This was my hammer when I was a child. Here's the story:
This little hammer was one of my "special" toys when I was a little boy. I loved tools. I loved to build things and take things apart, often to my family's dismay. (I had this unexplainable desire to understand how things worked and why they worked.)
Sometime around six years of age, I was playing with the hammer and threw it on the roof of my father's house. (And, no, I do not remember why I threw it on the roof!) I was very upset because my hammer was on top of the house and I couldn't play with it. I was not yet mature enough to comprehend that it was my own fault that I couldn't play with it -- that it was a consequence of my actions that deprived me of one of my favorite toys. My father didn't go up on the roof and get it for me, which upset me even more.
Eventually, I went on with my (six year old) life, and forgot about the hammer.
One day, when I was in my early twenties, my father asked me to go up on the roof and help him fix a leak that had been caused by a storm. (A severe tornado had gone through our area and had done a lot of damage.)
While I was helping him, guess what I found on the roof? My hammer! Now, it may not sound like a "big deal" to you, but it was a "big deal" to me! I had thought that the hammer was lost forever, and to a little six year old mind, it was. Now, after all these years, here it was again, in my hand! I had my hammer back!
I brought it down with me and kept it. It has become a treasured possession. There are many lessons for me in that little hammer.
The hammer reminds me that I did have a childhood. There have been times when I have forgotten. In times of great emotional turmoil, pain, and difficult circumstances, it is easy to loose sight of the simple perspective of a child, or even that you were a child "once upon a time" and how to ever be like one again. Jesus said that we must be as a little child in order to enter the kingdom of God. (Luke 18:17)
The hammer reminds me that some of the things that I think are lost forever, really aren't lost at all. They may be misplaced for a while, or, they may be out of my reach as a consequence of my own actions, but they are not necessarily lost. God is the Great Restorer. In Him, nothing is lost. (Joel 2:25-26)
The hammer reminds me that sometimes, when I ask God to "fix" something for me, He waits. I may feel as though He has denied me, forgotten me, or ignored me. But He has not. It just takes a little more "living" to understand that. He has a lesson for me to learn, and when I am more mature and equipped to handle the answer, it will come. I couldn't climb onto the roof of a house at six, but I could at twenty. I look at the hammer and remember that, sometimes, the answer to my prayer is not denied or forgotten, it is just "on the roof", waiting for me to find it when I am ready. (2 Pet. 3:9)
The hammer reminds me that when that answer comes, it may not be what I expected. Now that I am in my forties, I do not think as I did when I was six. I wanted the hammer for one reason then, but now, it means something completely different to me. It is still very valuable, but not in the same way it was forty years ago. (1 Cor 13:11)
The hammer reminds me that I may not find my answer when I am looking for it, but rather, I may find it when I am going about "My Father's business", doing what he asks of me, without question or complaint, trusting that He knows best and that He has my best interests at heart. (Prov. 3:5-6)
You see, I found my hammer, not because I was looking for it, but because I obeyed my father and was willing to help him on roof just because he asked.
What is your "hammer"? What is the thing you feel that God has forgotten about? What is the thing that you believe is lost forever? What is your "favorite toy" that you have lost or thrown away yourself? That could be your "hammer".
Like my hammer, it may not be lost. That answer may still be there, waiting for you. It may not be what you expect -- it may be better!
Trust God. He knows about your "hammer". He knows where it is at this moment. Just trust Him and obey Him. You may be pleasantly surprised to find your "hammer" one day when you least expect it. Then you will know, as I discovered, that it was there waiting for you all along.
G. Randall Vaughn