February 15, 2024 I will guess the conversation started around Labor Day, but to be honest, it was so long ago I really have no clue.  The issue was an unstable looking tree on our neighbor’s empty lot at Houghton Lake.  He was working on a plan to cut it down, but the path of its fall would produce a direct hit on our bunkhouse (this is the name we have given to the travel trailer we purchased last year to accommodate overnight sleeping space for our growing family).  I immediately agreed to move the bunkhouse to a different and temporary location on our lot … and that I would do so as soon as possible.  And then we drove home to celebrate Joel’s 40th birthday, though I may have actually tried to do this on my own – which, if you know me, is a thought that comes directly from fantasy land! 
Sometime in the fall – again the dates and progression of the events are unimportant – brother-in-law Paul and his wife Julie spent a weekend at the cottage.  Since he, a truck and forklift driver by trade, is one of my “go to” guys, I asked if he could move the bunkhouse while visiting.  However, his best efforts failed.  Sometime either before or after that our son Matt (both of our sons are my two other main “go to” guys) and I made a special trip to do the same, with identical results.
The problem was with the hitch.  It has no manual crank for raising or lowering it.  And the battery was dead.  We had tried charging it, but with no positive results.  Then on January 3 (this date I know) Paul and I made a special trip for attempt #3.  But, again, we failed.  We could not even get the lights on the trailer to work.  Then and there I resigned myself to the fact that I would have to call a camper store in the area to have them come over to solve the problem, and, since we were now in January, it would have to wait until spring when the snow was all melted.
During the winter I like to make one or two short trips to Houghton Lake.  These trips serve as both personal retreats and time to check on the cottage.  So, last Thursday I headed up north and arrived shortly after 1:00 p.m.  You may recall the temperatures – even up there – were in the 50’s.  The cottage was good and the minimal snow was vanishing quickly.  I spent the day reading and reflecting, with a short trip to pay the property tax.  That evening, I walked over to the Spikehorn for dinner.  I sat mindlessly at a high-top table watching sports on a couple of TV’s while I ate my fish tacos (theirs, by the way, are the best).  Suddenly there was a woman standing next to me saying, “Don’t you ever look around?  We have been waving at you for the last 10 minutes!”  I looked up to see a couple with a cottage on our street who were sitting at the bar waiting to order their food.  I then finished my dinner and sat down with them to catch up.
This past summer, since she works remotely and he is retired, they made their cottage their fulltime home.  After about a half hour I happened to mention all my failed efforts in moving the bunkhouse.  Before I knew what was happening, Brian said he would stop by that evening on his way home to pick up my battery (and our boat one, too) to put on his charger overnight.  The next morning he returned around 11:00 on his four-wheeler with the batteries.  As he was connecting the battery he noticed a fuse that looked dead.  While I made a quick run to the hardware store for the fuse, he connected the battery and exchanged his four-wheeler with his pickup.  He said, “That battery was totally dead, but it’s working now.”  Within 15 minutes the bunkhouse was moved and he was on his way home!  I told him he may regret what he did, because his name has now been added to my “go to” list.

From a worldly view, this would be called serendipity.  I had no thoughts of solving the dilemma on this particular trip, and I certainly was not even thinking about asking for help as I brought it up in the conversation.  For all appearances, it was an “occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way” (Oxford).  Am I feeling lucky?  No!  Rather, I am feeling richly blessed … God, for reasons that I may never know, chose to step in … not just to solve the problem, but – as I’m sure you know – was equally as active throughout all of the frustrating times as well.  And I am sure that his concern was not so much about getting the battery to work as it was to be at work in me and the others connected to the story … who knows, perhaps even in you and your reading of it!
In a Bible class I attended yesterday we were reading from 2 Timothy, which is a personal letter to Timothy from his mentor, Paul.  We read, “You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings.” (2 Timothy 3.10-11)  Our conversation led us to think about mentors who have made a difference in our lives, and to consider how we might be a similar blessing to others.  Oftentimes it is difficult to put “patience, love, persecution, and suffering” into the same thoughts – especially when we are in the midst of the latter (even when the suffering is really just an inconvenience like a dead battery).

However, I believe, it is imperative that we keep these thoughts connected because, whether we see it or not, God’s timing is always impeccable.  In fact, even when our timing is the cause for hurts or challenges, he in mercy turns things into gracious opportunities … at just the right time.  “So we are always of good courage.  We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, for we walk by faith, not by sight.  Yes, we are of good courage.” (2 Corinthians 5.6-8)
Yes, whether we are talking about a few minutes on a Sunday afternoon or a “frustrating” story that unfolds over months … or any other “you fill in the blank” chronicle of our lives, the timing belongs to God.  And this is always a good thing.  Therefore “to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ throughout all generations, forever and ever.” (Ephesians 3.20-21) Life IS good in Christ … because his timing is always impeccable! “Remember,” Jesus said, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.  Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”  The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” (John 4.13-15)
Daily electronic devotions:
Lutheran Church Charities (LCC): www.lutheranchurchcharities.org
Lutheran Hour Ministries (LHM:  www.lhm.org

A little spiritual refreshment as the weekend approaches.
If you have any comments, or want me to start sending this to a friend,
contact me, Pastor Mark Hetzner at HetzMarkRev@gmail.com
or send me a text:  586-854-5634For more information on Saint Thomas Lutheran, Eastpointe, MI
go to www.stl-eastpointe.org

To easily listen to God’s Word each day,
Text “GIVE” to 1-586-800-2223 Visit: https://www.stl-eastpointe.org/2015/07/13/mission-support/ Go to https://www.elexiogiving.com/app/giving/stthoms These will connect you to our on-line giving form, where you can have your mission support offering automatically taken from your checking account or use PayPal or your credit or debit card (STL is charged extra fees for debit and credit card transactions).  And reoccurring giving is always a great option!
Timing, Part 2