The Mystery of the White Headboard

It all started in a whirlwind of preparations for a move to Nashville. Eileen and I needed to downsize, so I posted some items of excess furniture on Facebook Marketplace (which I had never used prior to this experience). Here is the garage photo I posted in an attempt to sell an old headboard for just $5.

Cue the craziness. And I mean craziness.
Being my normally unsuspecting self, I entered the world of high tech “garage sale” excited to meet some new people. And I did meet some new and nice people. Several sales went smoothly, as we lightened the load of our worldly goods. The pickup details for most items were coordinated and executed without a hitch. That wasn’t the crazy part.

It was the headboard! The old white headboard. Everyone wanted it, or so I thought …
“When can I come see it?”
“Will it fit in my Lexus SUV? If not, I can get my brother to pick it up in his truck.”
“Can you hold it until the weekend?”
“Please give me the exact dimensions.”
“Do you have a matching footboard? Any bed rails?”
“Can you help me load it? I just had hand surgery “
“I’m coming from Ballard County, and I’ll be there between 3:30 and 4:00.”
“Sorry. Running late. Just leaving Ballard.”

All seemed like legitimate conversations, at least until I realized that they weren’t. I won’t use any names here, but there were a dozen names and Facebook profiles. But nobody actually came from Ballard County, nor did the Lexus ever appear in the driveway (or the brother’s truck).

It took me three days to figure out that people with forged identities were simply delighting in yanking my chain. One lady (who knows who she really was?) kept rescheduling until I became suspicious. A man from “Marion, IL” kept sending messages until I asked him to call me instead. Radio silence. Another woman said that she was hurrying to get there but that I could sell to “that other person” if I needed to … I honestly think that she and “that other person” were working together, strange as this whole ordeal may sound. Who has time for this kind of weirdness? Some folks obviously do. Ironically, since it took me so long to clue in, I guess I did too.

Now I’m not exactly sure what are all of the lessons that the Lord has for me in all of this. Sometimes I’m a slow learner, and I’m still learning. But I think that this is bigger than just a shrug and a flustered “people are weird” under my breath. Though people are weird, and I’ll offer myself as Exhibit A.

You and I are pilgrims here. We forget that, but we who follow hard after Jesus are the “aliens and strangers” (1 Peter 2:11) on this fallen planet. Sojourners don’t get to make all the rules, friends. And exiles don’t get to feel entirely comfortable every minute of the day. After all, we’re not really home. We’re on the way, but we’re not home.
It’s entirely possible that you’re facing some craziness today that makes my Marketplace saga look like child’s play. In the name of Christ, I’m calling you to persevere. Hang tough! Faith is a journey, and often a difficult one, and our flesh keeps seeking to attach itself to something tangible (or seemingly “sensible”) that feels like security. But, this side of heaven, there will never be a season of our lives that will not require us to walk by faith. Even when nothing makes sense.

Strangeness and suffering are part of our high calling. And both require the gift of faith. Ravensbruck exile and Holocaust survivor Corrie ten Boom said it like this: “When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.” The good news is that you and I are being steered by an engineer who is entirely worthy of our trust. And He’s worthy of our highest praise.
By the way, I just sold the white headboard to a friend of a friend. I am rich. Hallelujah!

Pastor Charles

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