Wednesday, March 2, 2016

He Knows

He knows.

Do you ever think about that deeply, when life seems uncertain and scary?

I'm guilty of forgetting.

Sure, Bible verses comfort me. I always print a list of them when I'm feeling sad or overwhelmed or scared, and they definitely ground me. They're a regular part of my spiritual armor, but I still forget God's all-knowing, all-powerful, ever-present love.

Several weeks ago we noticed the carpet soaking in the hallway, so my handyman cousin came over to investigate. He tore open drywall and cabinets, attempting to locate the source of the water, to no avail. Finally, he suggested it was under the slab and would require a jack hammer, and us moving out of the house for a couple days. We prepared to hire a leak detection company to listen for water under the slab with specialized instruments.

Slab leaks can cost a couple thousand to several thousand, or more. As you can imagine, the news was devastating and scary. I was spending time I didn't have watching DIY plumbing videos, trying to find answers.

Meanwhile, the leak soaked towels day and night, and we couldn't find any pattern or trigger for the water, and mold was a real concern. The stress of it aggravated my son Peter's disorders.

Life felt heavy and miserable, but I tried to count my blessings anyway, rather pathetically coming up short.

Then, last night during family devotions the Holy Spirit really spoke to me. We were weighed down choice. Fretting is always a choice. 

Our entire lives are made up of choices. Good and bad things happen to all of us, everyday. In each case we have a choice as to how we will respond. The hallway plumbing leak was a spiritual test, as are so many things we go through as Christians.

We could either be devastated by the leak and the potential cost, and spend inordinate amounts of time trying to solve it, stressing each other out in the process, or we could go on with our God-ordained tasks, walking by faith with joy and humility, doing what was necessary regarding the leak, but nothing more. We could take it in stride as just another adventure as servants of Christ.

I'm sad to say we did not respond admirably, though some days we did better than others.

On the day I was waiting for a call back from the leak detection company--who wanted to charge nearly $400 for their detection services--I received help from the Holy Spirit, during family devotions as I stated above. I could feel the tension in everyone. We were grumpy, worried, and had trouble counting our blessings.

The Holy Spirit spoke to me, but this time not in a verse, so much as in a concept. God knows.

The Holy Spirit whispers the simplest things, but when given at the right time, they seem monumental. God knows?

Oh, yeah. Of course he does.

I let that knowledge soak in, and then I reminded the rest of the family that God knows. He knows the source of the leak. He knows what's in our bank account. He knows our days are already full. He knows we can't live with flowing water and mold in our hallway. He knows, and he works all things for our good.

He knows the outcome of every challenge, so we don't have to. We can just trust and obey, cause there's no other way to be happy in Jesus, then to trust and obey.

The need to know and to control the outcome is what drives our fretting.

After we realized that...the spiritual test was nearly over. We were a little late, but we got there. God knows.

Something miraculous--or so it seemed to us--happened after devotions that night. The kids began brushing teeth because it was now bedtime, and my husband, on a whim, went into one of the bathrooms and drew the water from the toilet tank with a large cup. He emptied it out as much as possible, and put a "do not use" sign on it. This idea, after weeks of consternation, and my cousin coming up empty after demolishing and investigating. My cousin is fairly knowledgeable, but not a certified plumber. He knew enough to buy a fixer upper home for cheap, to gut it, and start from scratch remodeling it. It's now a beautiful home with high-quality workmanship, so now the extended family always uses his expertise whenever possible.

Until I started watching DIY videos, I knew nothing about plumbing, and my husband knew the minimum. Still, the next morning we discovered that the leak had stopped. The towels laid on the hallway slab were dry, and the wet spots on the interior wall were slowly drying, allowing me to tackle the mold before we redid the drywall. We would still have to spend money changing out the toilet and redoing drywall, but the spiritual test was over and it didn't cost the bundle of cash we feared.

I feel both very relieved, and very foolish. A simple fix was somehow kept from our consciousness--and my cousin's--because God wasn't interested in our comfort or in our leak. He was interested in our hearts. He wanted us to be able to go through hard, scary, inconvenient things, and still praise Him, and still rejoice.

God's people all through history have gone through much harder things than a hallway leak. They've been held captive, ridiculed, persecuted, and killed. They've been afraid, overwhelmed, in pain, and in each case they did not immediately know the outcomes.

If we let go of our need to control the outcomes, we can concentrate better on having a godly response to our circumstances. A godly response is what brings God glory, and isn't that what we want as servants of bring him glory?

Hard to accept isn't it, that God's not concerned about our comfort? Yes, hard, but I'm so glad he cares about my good, about my heart, about my usefulness, more than about my comfort.

Forgive me, Lord. Forgive me for making it about me. Thank you for showing me that I always have a choice in how I respond. Help me choose what is better. Give me a grateful that considers it pure joy when I face trials of many kinds. Help me to live for you and your glory.

In Your name, Amen.

James 1:12 Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.


Anonymous said...

Amen. I have been feeling rather overwhelmed myself, with my son's ongoing illness, daughter no. 2 having a week-long tummy bug, my mother's imminent arrival on Friday (my husband does not like my mother - not without reason) and the dishwasher packing up. The last one sounds so ridiculous but it nearly made me cry. My husband, lovely as he is, is so messy too. It's part of his dyslexia. And totally disorganised (apart from when doing his job, which is good!), so all these things fall onto me to deal with. Yesterday I had one child begging for painkillers, one child throwing up on the floor and a great pile of washing up.

The worst thing is a lack of sleep. I haven't been sleeping well and that always leaves room for doubt and self-pity as well as general tiredness! Like you, I always take myself back to basics: I am serving God when I'm doing these things. That always cheers me up. And God never says I 'ought' to be more than I am - He just holds my hand. My unwillingness melts away (mostly! I have work to do) because I lean on Him. And look- we may be thousands of miles apart and only know one another through pseudonyms, but I relate to your struggles and I pray for you, as I know you do me. That's a real blessing!

Christine said...

I can surely relate to wanting to cry over the dishwasher backing up, on top of everything else. Two kids ill with different things is indeed very, very, overwhelming! Praying now for all of you!