Leaky Theology

Something was bound to happen. Always does.

We were thirty-six hours from launch on a five-day adventure three states over. So right on cue, Mr. Murphy’s Law let himself in. His choice of residence was our refrigerator.

The crisis began at 10:15am with a text message from my wife. I was hoping it was one of those, “I miss you!”, “Luv U” or some other sweet-nothin’ IM. No dice.

“What does it mean if our fridge is leaking water?”

Seriously? My blood pressure jumped 30 points in 30 seconds. My eyes closed as I cocked a tilted grin. I gave a slow shake with my head in familiar disbelief. I reluctantly opened my eyes. My mind raced. I visually scripted the worst-case scenario, complete with flooded basement and moldy drywall. This is why I have gray hair.

I quickly gathered myself and went into rescue mode.

I texted back: “From where? Was the freezer left open? It just means we r getting ready to leave and need something else to stress about. How much water?”

The quick and terse reply: “From under the fridge. Not left open. A lot is coming out…”

Rats. Easy fix thwarted.

My thumbs banged-out a response: “Push lever up on ice maker so that stops. Don’t get any water from fridge. Any water in freezer or fridge? At dr w mom right now.”

Yes, adding to the stress of a puddling fridge was my inability to bolt home. I was helping my mom with an appointment. My triumphant arrival at the home-front would have to wait. There’s only one hero in Gotham City, and right now he is helping his mother.

Meanwhile the drama rolled-on.

“No water in either. Ice cube lever was up. Great timing…Bleh.”

This was getting complicated – quickly. My hotline support solutions weren’t working. I couldn’t avoid the real possibility that I would need to shoe horn a run to the home improvement store into an already overstuffed pre-trip schedule. I could feel another hair going gray.

I continued to collect data.

“Is it running all over? There is a valve to shut off in the downstairs closet. U really need to pull the fridge out.”… “don’t want it leaking down the wall.”

My boys moved the fridge for their mother (noble lads). After inspection, this reply scrolled onto my phone’s screen: “It was running all over. Not like a faucet but steady. If I pull it out what am I looking for or doing?”

Game over. I went from ‘rude guy texting in the doctor’s office’ to ‘rude guy talking on his cell phone in the doctor’s office.’ Mom understood, and that’s all that mattered. Gotham City was flooding.

We’ve all had, and will have more leaky fridge moments. They can be maddening. There is never a good time to be inconvenienced.

But it’s those inconvenient moments that I’m gifted with the most clear and raw picture of who I am and what I believe. The stress of leaks, the pressure of pre-trip packing, the logistics of corralling a family of seven brings reality to my theology. In fact, it’s through life’s experiences (good and bad) that God presents opportunities to plunge farther into the knowledge of His character. To know more of who He is and what’s required of me as a Christ-follower.

But engaging with God means I’ve got to get beyond the self-focus of my present circumstance. I must smother my frustrations. Step down from my pride, and rest. Listen. Trust. Sit with God in the moment.

I received help with engaging God this week from some old friends. Those familiar with this blog already know that I’m particularly fond of the Puritans. From my reading, I pulled this excerpt from a prayer titled Pride: “Humble my heart before thee, and replenish it with thy choicest gifts.” (Valley of Vision) Oh how I crave God’s choicest gifts. Sometimes I don’t realize what I really desire. I’m too immersed in copper pipes with pinhole leaks. I’m distracted by everything I think I must do. But what I truly need to do is settle into the truth of what’s been done. Completely. Finally. By Jesus. It’s Him that I really long for. Not a leak-free refrigerator.

In the end, the fridge got repaired. We travelled on time. We returned to a dry kitchen and basement. Gotham City dwells in peace. But more than all that, I saw – again – that I’m given many opportunities each day to receive God’s choicest gifts. If I’m willing. And humble.

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