Tearing a Phone Book: Accomplishing God’s Will

For years I have done a little illusion or magic trick each day at VBS.  It’s fun and the kids seem to like it.  A few years ago I learned to tear a phone book in half and did it one day at VBS.  Now, before you start being in awe I have to tell you that it was a Bridge City phone book which means it was only about 1” – 1 ½ “ thick.

This year a few of the kids started asking me to tear a phone book in half.  I didn’t have any small ones.  I only had phone books that were Orange County which means they are about 2 ½” thick.  My daughter was in my office and said, “Why don’t you tear a phone book in half tomorrow?”  I said that I didn’t have one small enough that I could tear. When she left my office I grabbed the phone book off my desk and just started, Wham!  Tore it in half. Oh yeah!

So I tell my wife (and VBS director) to get me some phone books because I’m going to tear one in half for the kids.  She puts the word out and they come in. One problem, they are Golden Triangle phone books!  This means they are about 3 ½”!  Now I know there’s no way I can tear a phone book that big in half.  Of course you understand that there is a “trick” to tearing a phone book in half.  That doesn’t mean it makes it easy, it just makes it possible.

Anyhow, before VBS some of the kids are in the foyer and the phone books are there.  They are asking me to tear one.  I reply there’s no way. They’re too big and I just can’t do it … I mean I’m 50 years old now.  So to prove it, I grab a phone book and begin the process. I use my trick and strain …  when I look down I notice that the phone book has started to tear.  I’m a little surprised and continue to use the trick and strain. Slowly, gradually, from front cover to back the phone book tears until every page is torn. Once they’re all torn then it’s easy they just tear.  I did it.  I couldn’t believe it!  I was amazed even at myself. I did it!

I began to consider how tearing a phone book in half is kind of like doing the will of God.  Again, no one can take 3 ½”  of paper and just tear it in half.  There is a trick.  I will try to explain it, but not sure I can.  You may just want to go to Youtube and search “How to tear a phone book in half” for a great explanation.  Anyhow, while I can’t tear 3 ½” of paper all at once, I could tear them one page at a time.  Right? That really is the concept behind how to tear a phone book.  You take the phone book in both hands just like it was one sheet of paper and you were going to tear it from top to bottom.  Then you push your hands together.  Sort of pinch the phone book between your thumbs.  When you do you will notice that the phone book will crease and where it creases all the pages separate from each other.  It is like they all get a little bit of space between them.  In essence you can now tear them one page at a time.  So while pinching the phone book you also now pull it apart.  Gradually from front to back each page will tear.  Like I said before, once each page is torn they are easy to tear the rest of the way.

How is that like doing God’s will?  When God shows you something He wants to do and you feel like He is inviting you to be involved, it can be extremely overwhelming.  It’s like looking at that huge phone book.  You just say, “God, there’s no way I can do that.”  You just cannot see how you can accomplish it.  In fact, you can’t and especially not all at once.  You just have to begin to accomplish God’s desires one page at a time.  One step of faith …. One page torn …. The next faithful step of obedience …. Another page torn.  Slowly it goes on.  You begin to see some of it come to pass and you get more encouraged.  It helps you put forth more effort or take more steps of faith.  Until finally the book is torn,  you have followed God and been a part of something exciting. I’m not saying it’s easy, I’m just saying it’s possible! So tear that phone book.  I’m just an old man who tears phone books in half, but that’s the way I see it.

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5 Responses to Tearing a Phone Book: Accomplishing God’s Will

  1. Cristal says:

    Reblogged this on Refusing to Tiptoe and commented:
    After spending a week with Guatemalan orphans in conditions that broke my heart, I was faced with an overwhelming sense of helplessness. This blog post from my pastor was timely and refreshing. I can do something to make a difference in Guatemala. One page at a time!

  2. Dicky says:

    Thank you for this timely post.

  3. Scott says:

    You DID do something to make a difference in Guatemala….you loved those kids like they’ve probably never been loved before! ! ! You’ve started tearing the pages…..more to follow!

  4. Thank you for the reminder that it is God who helps us do what we think we can never do. Sometimes he teaches us to depend on Him more by letting us accomplish the task He has set before us one step at a time. That is what I needed to hear today. As you are connected with an orphanage in Guatamala, I would like to introduce you to a resource that can be used there. It is Growing Seasons, a ten session Christ-centered guide to helping children recover from loss or lack of a family. You can read it online to see for yourself. Go to Living Free.org, online store, children. Click on the picture, scroll down to Growing Seasons. Keep clicking on the Facilitators Guide until you see the words under it in blue, “Flip through the curriculum.” Orphanages in Zimbawe are using it successfully. Let me know if you need it in Spanish. I can help you get it if you think it can be used in the orphange there.

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