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Monday, June 1, 2009

The Day I Stumped Ben Franklin

Who has directed the Spirit of the Lord, Or as His counselor has informed Him? With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding? And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge, And informed Him of the way of understanding? Isaiah 40:13, 14 (New American Standard Bible)

A few years ago I visited Colonial Williamsburg in Virginia. As I took a tour of the Governor’s Palace my tour guide was dressed as Benjamin Franklin. He looked like the Founding Father even down to his round wire rimmed glasses. Before my small group began the tour our guide, after giving us a short discourse on Williamsburg in the 18th century, asked if we had any questions. Several folks asked him questions concerning the times which he answered with almost bored ease. Then Ken raised his hand. “Were people born in America allowed to be colonial governors or only British-born?” In asking this particular question I’d inadvertently thrown old Ben a curve. A look of panic flashed across his eyes. After a couple of seconds and a look that said he’d like to put me in the stocks, he finally shook his head and said, “No, only a British-born individual could be a colonial governor.” He’d been had and he knew it but to save face he had to say something. After all, he lived in the 18th century and who would know better than he? I’m sure when he got home later that day he found after researching the matter that men born in America could become colonial governors as in the case of Boston born Thomas Hutchinson who was the governor of colonial Massachusetts from 1771 to 1774.

I’m relieved that I can’t throw God any curves. He is never surprised by anything I say, do or think. It’s a relief that I never need to come into the presence of the living God and say “Oh man, Lord, I lost my temper today and raised my voice to my wife,” or “Lord, I let my eyes rest a few extra seconds on that girl wearing the shorts today.” He knows. He’s God. The wonderful thing is while He knows me and you He still loves us without condition. His knowing everything about us means He already knows our needs and has the knowledge and wisdom to act on our behalf, sometimes even before we ask. We will never surprise or stump Him with any question, statement or thought. In fact there are no pauses or raised eyebrows with Him toward any of us. Who has been His counselor or to who has He had to go for instruction? No one can surprise Him, especially the man who stumped Ben Franklin. I’m so glad for that.