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View from the Pew: June 14, 2002

June 17, 2002|By Jerry Godsey, special to this newspaper

On a hot summer day when he was about 7 years old, my brother Greg decided to go swimming. The only problem was that we didn't have access to a pool. We were too young to go to the municipal pool, and we sure didn't have a pool of our own. We didn't even have one of those little blue plastic wading pools. The neighbor kid had one. Had is the operative term because once the neighborhood ruffians (Greg and me, mostly Greg) discovered it, it didn't last long.

Greg found this "non-pool" condition deplorable. Being a true Godsey, he decided to rectify the situation. Being Greg, he did it the wrong way.

Greg scouted out pool locations and finally decided he had found the perfect spot to build his new pool. The spot didn't have so much direct sunlight that we would get sunburned. It was in a cool, shady spot. It was the perfect place for a pool. Greg was sure that his family's thanks, adulation and gratitude were soon to follow. So out came the tools and Greg got to work building the new family pool.

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Did I mention our house had a basement? It did, that is, until Greg stuck a hose down the stairs, flooded it, and made it into a pool. Greg didn't even take the stuff out of the basement, he just flooded it, boxes, junk and all.

If you think about it, it makes sense. What is a pool? It's a big cement box filled with water. What is a basement? It's a big cement box just waiting to be filled with water. I told you it makes perfect sense. What else would you do with a basement but make it into a pool? At least, that's what Greg thought.

Mom came home from work, and there was Greg and the neighbor kid happily splashing away in their new "pool."

Needless to say, my mom was less than pleased. The heat and glow from Greg's backside kept me awake for days afterward.

Greg couldn't understand why we didn't appreciate his offering of love to the family. Maybe our lack of thanks was because all of our stuff was waterlogged. Maybe it was the fact that I had to clean all the mildewed boxes out of the basement. Maybe it was just because it was a dumb idea. It was executed to perfection, but it was still a dumb idea.

Whatever the reason, Greg had done something he thought would be a good thing. He even did it exactly the way he thought he would. It was just the wrong thing to do.

The Bible says in Proverbs, "There is a way that seems right to a person, but eventually it ends in death" (Proverbs 14:12). There are a lot of people out there who think they know what they are doing. They have it all figured out. Unfortunately, all they are doing is filling their basement with water. It may look like a pool to them, but it is really just a big, water-logged mistake.

In Romans 12:2, Paul tells the Romans, "Don't become like the people of this world. Instead, change the way you think. Then you will always be able to determine what God really wants — what is good, pleasing, and perfect."

What does God really want from us? Does He desire blind obedience? Do we check our intellect at the door as so many preachers seem to believe?

No.

God gave you a brain, He expects you to use it. The problem is that much of Christianity defies reason and intellect. That's where faith comes in. There comes a time when you have to have faith that God is who He says He is and trust that He is on your side.

You can trust your life to God, even when it seems that what He wants doesn't make sense to us. For me, that is really a pretty easy decision. Do I want to trust my reason, intellect and intelligence or should I put my trust in the creator of the universe? Hmmmm, trust the guy who got a "D" in geometry or the creator of all? Really not a hard choice when you look at it like that.

I wonder and marvel at many things in life: the mystery of childbirth, the creation of the universe, the hardening of Jell-O. What I don't have trouble with is the fact that God loves me and wants what is best for me. That part is easy.

Every summer I think about Greg's pool. I am amazed at his ingenuity, his resilience and his chutzpah! My hat is off to you, Greg Godsey, pool builder extraordinaire …

Waiting for Greg to yell at me … Jerry

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