Sometimes life takes unexpected turns. When trials come, we don’t usually welcome them with open arms. However when we learn about them after the fact, all we can do is praise the Lord!
It was early fall and the thermometer took a sudden, unexpected dip. As we didn’t want icicles to begin developing on our walls, we decided that the first heat of the year was in order, and my wife switched on the furnace. It started right up, and without moments the house was nice and warm. The next morning however, the house was icy cold. The furnace had decided to stop working, and we couldn’t do anything to convince it differently. Getting to work was a bit higher priority, however, and as we knew the temperatures wouldn’t dip below freezing, we decided not to worry about it until evening.
When evening rolled around there was still no heat in the house. It appeared that our furnace had decided to take a sabbatical, and no matter how much we tinkered with it, it stayed numb! We knew we would have to contact a furnace specialist, and in the morning I made the dreaded call.
Although it was the weekend, we were able to contact someone, and what an eye-opener it was when he arrived! After making a hole in the duct, he inserted his probe into our furnace. That’s when his face turned pale. His first words were even more unsettling: “It’s a miracle you’re still alive!”
I wasn’t quite sure how to respond to this, so I stumbled out with: “Excuse me?”
He held out his instrument and motioned for me to put my eye to the eyepiece. “Do you see all these fissures in your furnace?” He asked.
Sure enough, large cracks were visible running left and right in every direction. In fact, it looked like my furnace had cavities. Maybe it was time I called the dentist?
“It isn’t safe to be used,” continued the repair man. “I will have to red-tag it.”
Although it all looked pretty ominous to me, I really had no clue what all of this meant. “Do you mean that those cracks are dangerous?” I ventured.
“Dangerous!” He shook his head. “Sir, every time this system ran you had a carbon monoxide leak. Like I said, it’s a miracle you’re still alive!”
Somehow, after such a definite reaction from a furnace repair specialist, I was, for some reason, determined to replace my furnace! That’s when I remembered the 8 baby birds we had lost in the Spring without apparent cause. Being much more susceptible to poison in the air than humans or even adult birds, could it be that we had finally found the cause of their deaths? Could it be that they had succumbed to carbon monoxide poisoning?
After this initial shock, we went on to learn that our 32 year-old “high-efficiency” furnace had been installed with only one air intake instead of two, and was therefore functioning below efficiency standards.
We were facing a calamity and although money was scarce, we knew God would provide. We could have complained bitterly, we could have cried and thrown fits, but that would not have brought honour to our king of Kings. Our faith would have been undermined and we would have become stumbling blocks to others. As it was, Jesus was revealed in all of this. The repair man’s own words were so true. We HAD experienced a miracle, and we could only praise the Lord for still being alive.
“Though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (1 Peter 1:6-7 NIV)
It is amazing how efficient our new furnace is. Although the thermostat is set several degrees lower than before, we are feeling warmer than ever. We can even pretend we are still in the Bahamas if we really want to! Cool, isn’t it? Or should I say, “warm”? . . .
Are you facing furnace problems?
(To view the entire “The Problem With Pain” devotional series, please click here.)