Few people outside of Wayne County, Indiana have likely heard the name Ralph Teetor, but millions use one of his inventions every day – cruise control.
Ralph was a longtime president of Perfect Circle, an automotive parts manufacturing company in the small rural community of Hagerstown, IN where I pastor a church.
He was a gifted engineer who invented many things despite the fact that he was blind from the age of 5.
As the story goes, he was playing in the yard with a friend and was accidentally stabbed in the eye. Not lacking for resources and wanting the best possible care for their son, his parents took him to the best eye doctor in the region (Cincinnati, OH).
The eye was badly injured but his parents insisted the doctor do everything possible to save it. I don’t know much about the medical knowledge of eye doctors in the late 1890’s but it certainly must have been limited compared with what they know today.
In spite of the doctors best efforts the injured eye developed an infection that in turn spread to the other eye and rendered it blind as well. Had the injured eye been removed, he would have had sight with one good eye.
I’m not second guessing his parent’s decision. We all want the very best for our children and will sacrifice everything to make that possible. But sometimes pushing for something good can turn bad.
As followers of Jesus who are giving ourselves to further His kingdom here on earth, it is easy to push for something good without first stopping to consider or pray about whether it is God-ordained.
God’s ways are not our ways and God’s timing is not our timing. To participate with Him is not just finding something good to do but learning to do life in step with Him so that we can do the right thing at the right time.
In Matthew 11:28-30 Jesus offers rest to all who would follow Him. It’s a promise to teach us how to live in step with God and the phrase used by Eugene Peterson in The Message is “unforced rhythms of grace.”
The offer still stands as the Holy Spirit who resides in us can teach us how to do life with God.