I had gone to the county dump with my dad. While he was talking to the attendant (who was a friend of his), I was busy rummaging around. As I did, I found a discarded bicycle security chain with a combination lock. The lock, however, was closed, and thus the chain was essentially useless to anyone because the combination was unknown. No doubt, this was why it had been thrown away in the first place.
I eagerly retrieved the lock and took it home. I remember puzzling over the matter for several days. Could I get this thing open? If so, how? Was there a way to unlock this otherwise perfectly good bicycle chain lock? If so, I knew that I could make good use of it on my own bicycle.
As I pondered on this matter, I suddenly had a realization. The combination locking mechanism itself consisted of four tumblers in succession, each running from 0 to 9. I reasoned that if I started the combination sequence at 0000 and then moved to 0001 and then on to 0002, etc…, eventually, I would have to hit on the correct combination.
Thus, full of excitement, I ventured forth into what soon became a tedious process - one click at a time. I would try a number, and when it did not work, I would advance to the next one in the sequence. I repeated this process for days on end, never knowing what the next rotation held.
I remember to this day how my friends repeatedly questioned me. Was I crazy? Did I honestly think I would ever find the combination? Why on earth was I wasting my time and energy? Who would want to pursue such a pointless endeavor?
To be honest, at times I began to wonder the same things. Had I reasoned correctly? Was this really worth my time? Would I ever succeed? Days turned into weeks. I will admit that I was beginning to doubt my chances. Nonetheless, on I plodded, one turn at a time.
And then, suddenly, after 6134 previous attempts (6135 if you count 0000), the tumblers fell upon the properly numbered sequence, and… Voilà! The lock slid open! I had done it! And I was ecstatic! I had reasoned correctly. With little or no help from others, I had applied my own faculties in order to solve the problem; and then, with dogged determination, I had stayed with the task, even in the face of increasing questions and criticism.
As a result, I had found the solution. And the reward was most satisfying. It was also quite instructional. I learned a very important lesson that day. I learned that most any problem can be solved if you are willing to apply your God given talents and then go to work!
This little lesson has served me well in the ensuing years. Many a time I have come up against an obstacle, quite a few of which have seemed insurmountable. But in most every one of these situations, I have applied this same basic approach in search of a solution: the lesson of 6135.
What are you facing today? How insurmountable is your problem? While we cannot solve every single difficulty in our own strength, a great many of them we can. Usually, we just need to approach whatever issue we are facing responsibly, and then apply ourselves with determination and persistence.
And when we do come up against problems that we cannot solve on our own, we know that our God is capable of doing what we cannot. No doubt Paul had that very thought in mind when he said, “I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” (Phil. 4:13)
And now you know why I keep that little sticker on my laptop! I hope this little story helps you unlock a thing or two! In the meantime, keep plodding along! Eventually, things might just open right up!