Sometimes it’s the littlest things that test our faith in the biggest ways.
I received a text today from Peter, the Pakistani man who is living in our condo with his family. The text said that the condo is not heating nor is there any hot water. He was asking for help (understandably so – Central Ohio is facing another 20 degree snowy day).
I was ice-skating with Harper when I got the text, and knowing that I would need to deal with this overwhelming heat issue sent me from calm, patient momma to raging, irritable grump.
As our time ice-skating ended, my daughter was becoming tired, hungry, cold and perfectly temperamental for a four-year-old. Instead of handling her with the mature grace of a grown woman, I reacted with annoyance to her every whine, complaint, and tear. It was unpleasant, and that’s putting it pleasantly. In the back of my mind was lingering the reality that my Saturday was now going to be consumed with condo repairs and the associated time and money. Tension was building and my innocent daughter felt the weight of it.
As we drove home from the skate rink, I started in on my self pity party. Who am I going to find to help on a Saturday? I don’t even know where to start with water heater issues. And how much is this going to cost? We simply can’t afford the repairs. If this winter hadn’t been so brutal, this would never have happened. And winter isn’t even over yet. I don’t have time for this. I don’t have the money for this. And I certainly don’t have the patience for this.
Internally I was on a tirade, contemplating a vow to never help another person ever again because it always leads to more work for me.
It wasn’t long before all my self-pity turned into God-blame. Surely this was all His fault.
As I shifted from self pity to God blame, the dialogue in my head began to evolve. I found my hard heart warming, a bit of the crustiness breaking away.
Okay, God, fine, so I need to deal with this heat issue at the condo. And every other time that I have encountered an issue like this, you have been there. Not always in the way I wanted or expected, but in the end, you were there. And the result was always blessing. So maybe I’m going to have to deal with this unexpected inconvenience this weekend. But for good reason. Help me to have faith in that.
As the stiffening of my heart began to release, another dialogue emerged. The shrinking tension became apparent as I near laughed out loud realizing I hadn’t even yet prayed that God would fix the heat issues that were plaguing the condo. All the time I had spent stressing (and shaving years off my life in the process), I could have been praying.
Harper and I arrived home, and I walked into the house feeling lighter than I had felt only minutes earlier. Though I still needed to deal with the issues at the condo, my irritability and frustration was lifting. If anything, God took my prayer for the condo and used it to soften my heart.
As I was relaying to Matt the text from Peter, my phone alerted me of another text. There was no holding back the laughter as I read Peter’s words: “Sister, for half the day, no hot water or heat, but thank God, hot water and heat is coming now. It’s ok.”
I looked away from my husband, fighting back tears, as I realized how surly and sour my heart had initially reacted to this measly first-world problem. I was even more overwhelmed with emotion realizing that God had this entire situation under His control the entire time. He was there. He is there. He is here. A flush of humility warmed my face as I processed His faithfulness and my lack of it. Why does He continue to love me unconditionally? The emotion was too much, and all I could do was smile. And laugh.