Of Rocket Stoves And Asking Why

Friday, October 4, 2013
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Listen while you read: "Abide With Me"1 (Lyrics)

James 1:17 – Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (NKJV)

I am now the proud owner of a rocket stove: a high-efficiency, wood-burning, outdoor cooking stove designed to be used for camping or emergencies. I never really wanted a rocket stove. In fact, I had never even heard of one.

The day started out innocently enough. A friend and I attended a class on outdoor cooking methods. They held a drawing for a free rocket stove, and all thirty of us entered.

In all my life, I've won two drawings: a fake flower arrangement and duck eggs. I figured that I wasn't at risk of winning the rocket stove.

I — the only person there who didn't want the rocket stove — won the rocket stove.

It was one of those moments when I found myself asking, "Why?" "Why me? I didn't want this." "Why this? This isn't what I've been asking for." "Why now? I have no idea what I'm going to do with this." For some reason, I was supposed to win the rocket stove, and I have no idea why.

Often life is this baffling. We have something in mind when we pray, and God answers differently. We have expectations about life, and God orchestrates life opposite to those expectations. There are things we don't really want out of life. God chooses those things for us, and we wonder why. Why me? Why this? Why now?

We busy ourselves with the whys, because life doesn't always go as planned.

Despite my whys, I have decided that I'm going to learn how to use my rocket stove. It's a gift — something I was supposed to have, something I'm supposed to enjoy, something I would have wanted if I had known how nice it would be to have one.

And life is the same way.

I may never know why God answers certain ways, why He gives or allows certain things, or why He chooses the timing He chooses.

I'll never know why He even cares about my little life, but He does.

That's reason enough to accept all He chooses — the wanted and the unwanted.

When I use my rocket stove for the first time, I will discover why all those people wanted one. And if I had God's perspective on my life, I'd choose everything He's choosing for me — because life isn't a drop-your-name-in-a-basket-and-risk-it type of existence.

Life is our name written on hands that are loving, wise, and good — the hands of One Who knows how to turn all the whys into wanted gifts.

Prayer: Father, we praise You that You are wise. You care about our lives, and You choose gifts that we never knew we wanted. Help us to trust You in the midst of our whys, knowing that our whys are not baffling to You. In Jesus' name. Amen.

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About the author:

Bethany Hayes <bethany828@comcast.net>
Portland, Oregon, USA

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    A very good word Bethany.

    Thank you for the reminder Bethany. Blessings.

    Thank you Bethany for a wonderful lesson. Our Father in Heaven knows best.

    Such a lovely devotional. Thanks for sharing, and enjoy your rocket stove — a surprise gift from God.

    What a wonderful meditation! I have faith that your rocket stove experience will be stellar. Thanks for your message.

    Thanks for today’s devotion. What a wonderful analogy of how God knows exactly what we need and when we need it if we will only put our trust in Him. He wants only the best for us. What an awesome God we love and serve. Have a blessed weekend.

    Good Morning Bethany – what a great devotion to start my day! Thank you. Really a perfect reminder and perfect timing again for me. God is so good!
    May He continue to bless you. Keep writing.

    Thank you, Bethany for the devotional which made me smile a bit. All of us have had those “why me” days and thoughts and all of us should respond as you did.

    Dear Bethany,
    I really enjoy your story “Of Rocket Stoves And Asking Why”.
    Thank you.

    Thank you for this interesting perspective, Bethany.
    Could it also be possible that God gave you that gift so that you could give it to someone who really needs it, but who wouldn’t have been at that course; someone who wouldn’t have the money to buy one? Just a thought.

    Dear Bethany,
    Good thought for today, thanks.
    Yes, well, I wanted a rocket stove, just because I am a pyromaniac and loved the idea of stuffing things in it to burn. So I cannot see God granting me that. However, now that I am old I have caravan with its own gas oven, so life is simpler.
    Nevertheless your point is well made: there are no unforeseen accidental occurrences in the Kingdom.

    Good devotional Bethany, thank you. In the last 15 months I have heen moved to write. I don’t know I’m going to write until the words are in my mind. As the months passed, what I have written becomes more meaningful. The material is now being edited for future publication, if God so wills. One of the editors says she was especially moved and I am thankful. Just as you won a prize, as a surprise. so God cares for us all. Don’t stop writing, please.

    But I can assure you many now in El Salvador are asking for help to buy one of these Rocket Stoves. There is even an organization in USA trying to develop small businesses to make these stoves and create employment. of course the poor people cannot afford them so this limits the sales to those who receive donations for this process or have the funds. The technology was not restricted I am told, to allow use in humanitarian situations and keep costs low. I know the Rotarians are struggling with their production system to get costs reduced.
    Just thought this might enlighten you a bit and give you some ideas as to what to do with your stove and if it was meant for you or to inform you and lead you to other things in your life.

    You know now why you won the stove. If you had not won it, you would never have had the inspiration for the devotional today. God does work in mysterious ways.
    I hope you win another prize.

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