Broken Chairs

We were exhausted after our 24-hour journey from Oklahoma to Bangkok. There were five of us on the Rotary Group Study Exchange team. Behind the fog of our weariness was the excitement of seeing Thailand for the first time.

The hot air struck like a wall of lava as we stepped out of the air-conditioned airport down the path led by our driver, a local missionary who was accustomed to the heat and dressed accordingly. We were burdened with bags enough for our 30-day journey and were still wearing our required uniform, sports coats and ties.

We sped down the streets burdened with six lanes of traffic, though only four were painted. Mopeds, scooters, small cars and trucks filled every possible gap. Foot traffic was much heavier than I expected. It was a wake up call for a country boy.

We made it to our hotels for three-hour naps as midnight passed and we adjusted to our new timezone. I collapsed into the hotel chair.

It in turn collapsed with me in it. It was not built for my 400 pound frame.

For 30 days I was the giant in Thailand.

When Harry Met Sally

People would come up to me, poke me in the belly and say, “You fat!” I did not know it at first, but it was a compliment. They assumed I must be rich because no poor person could afford to eat that much.

Others assumed I was a sponsored Sumo wrestler.

Meanwhile, in restaurants, conference centers and public buildings, I continued to break chairs. More than I remember.

I finally learned that each restaurant had a meditation garden with a sturdy concrete bench. Upon arrival at each restaurant, I would go to the garden, grab the concrete bench, and take it to our table.

No one said a word. They just looked on with mouths agape.

I remember from my youth many preachers comparing faith in a chair to the faith we should have in Jesus.

That illustration escaped me.

In the past decade I’ve broken chairs, ladders and stairs, all in the name of Duncan Little Theatre, as I performed or worked behind the scenes.

At home, I broke beds, recliners, chairs and anything else unfortunate enough to be my choice for a place of rest. I even broke castors on two chairs designed for 500-pound capacity.

The relief I feel now is indescribable. I can sit in virtually any chair I choose. I can safely climb most ladders. My bed groans far less often. And my big-tall chairs are in storage.

But my illustration of faith in God has nothing to do with chairs.

Faith in God should match our faith in the sun to come up and gravity to hold us down, in the wind to blow and rivers to run, in fire to burn and winter to bring cold air, in sound to travel and in Him to stay by our side, a friend closer than a brother.

Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. Mark 11:23 NIV

Even if you don’t believe chairs will hold you up, you can count on Him to deliver you from the grasp of morbid obesity.

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