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Divine Intervention

Posted Monday, February 02, 2009 by Brian Beers

December 13th my wife, Kristina, had an opportunity to be part of the choir in a Messiah sing-along in a nearby town. There was a rehearsal at 2:30 and a performance at 4:30. We planned for her to leave for the practice ~1:30pm so my morning was open for a “small” project. I had just the project. I needed to attach the old exhaust duct to the new fan I had installed in the upstairs bathroom. My plan was simple: take the duct tape, tape the loose end of the duct to the exhaust port on the fan, and climb back down. I estimated this would take 45 minutes because every project takes longer than expected.

The first hiccup came at step two, tape the loose end of the duct to the exhaust port on the fan. The old duct was 4" in diameter while the exhaust port was 6". I handled this beautifully. “No problem.” I said to myself, “I’ll just add Home Depot to my short list of errands.” I then gathered up all of the parts I had left up there, and skipped to step 3, climb back down. That is when Kristina informed me, “Whatever you did up there last knocked the lights out in the bathroom.”


I had purposely rearranged some of the insulation, but…no! That couldn’t have…Aw…a simple project had caused a disaster. But I would have to deal with this later – after we returned from the Messiah. Not now. But this was just the beginning.

A few minutes later I went into the garage and tried to turn on the light on the garage door opener. No light meant no power to the garage door opener. The van for taking our five children to the Messiah is sitting in our garage. In the dark. Of course.

I called Alek, our oldest, to help me open the garage door, and I pulled the cable to disconnect the garage door from the garage door “opener.” Though it made a noise when I pulled the release, it took me several unsuccessful efforts to realize that I needed to pull harder. Once that was accomplished, and we lifted the door, I found that it would not stay up. So Alek stood on a little stool and held the door open while I backed the van out.

After this things went well for a while. I was about ready to leave with the children. Kristina had left, and I had sent the children out to get in the van. I was packing food into a cooler for the afternoon, and I decided to include an ice-pack. We keep those in the freezer in the garage. I opened the freezer door, and the light didn’t come on…(I just realized the theme of darkness that runs through this story. God is good at stories.) So that is when I remembered that the freezer is plugged into the same outlet as the garage door opener.


The solution to this was easy. I grabbed the extension cord hanging on the wall to my left and made ready to restore power to the freezer. But I couldn’t reach the plug-in directly. The outlet was about waist high, just barely behind the freezer. The bad news was that the cold air return duct for our furnace prevented direct access. The good news was that the cold air return duct didn’t go all the way to the floor. The bad news was that I had a set of shelves, a full set of shelves nonetheless, right in front of the duct.

I cleared the second shelf from the bottom and tried to reach up to unplug the freezer. I couldn’t see what I was doing, though. It was too dark. I retrieved a table lamp from upstairs, and plugged it into the waiting extension cord. By the light of the lamp I found that I could just barely touch the freezer’s plug-in. It wasn’t 6 inches out of reach. I could touch it, but not get the leverage I needed. This was malicious. At this point I realized that I might plug the freezer and head off to the Messiah only to return to a house burned down because of a fire caused by a short-circuit in the attic. So I changed out of my nice clothes and climbed back up.

Wiggling all of the wires accomplished nothing. I then decided I needed to check the new switch I had installed when I put in the fan/heat lamp. The only flat-head screw-driver I could find was over a foot long. This search had taken me several minutes, and I knew that somewhere I had my favorite screw-driver with 15 bits including two flat-head bits.

I was livid. Every solution I had come up with spawned two or three additional problems like Tribbles. As I stomped upstairs with my Crocodile Dundee “that’s not a screw-driver” clenched in my fist, I stopped pretending that I hadn’t lost my temper. “God,” I cried, “what the hell are you doing?”

I proceeded to find that there was nothing discernibly wrong with the switch. Then I unloaded the shelves in front of the cold air duct and moved it out of the way so I could reach the plug-in. I plugged in the freezer, took an ice-pack, and left with the children.

The Messiah was beautiful. Jim from our church sang a couple of the solos, showing his true calling. Our children behaved perfectly. Once we returned home it was too late for baths and showers, though the boys would have liked the adventure of showering by the light of a table lamp plugged into an extension cord.

After we got home, I had related some of my frustration to Kristina. We have been learning the blessings of keeping a Sabbath, but I was thinking that God had made it so that I couldn’t this week. But she said, “At least you don’t have to worry about it for a day.” So I sat down on our couch for a couple of minutes. This is when God made his point.

Nicholas, our 8 year old, started setting up a chess board. I told him to put it away because it was too late to play. He responded with a well-practiced scowl. I called him over to sit next to me on the couch, but I didn’t say anything. As we both sat there silently, the Holy Spirit piped up and said to me, “Doesn’t this look familiar?”

I drew Nicholas’s attention to the light being out in the bathroom and told him that I had grown very angry about this before we had left in the afternoon. I said that we both needed to learn to respond without anger when things don’t go the way we want them to go. Then we both prayed, asking God to help us respond righteously when things go “wrong.”

Then we got up from the couch. Nicholas went upstairs to get ready for bed, and I walked into the dining room. This is when I heard Kristina call out, “You fixed it! What did you do?”



I am not alone in trying to unlearn self-reliance and anger. God is active in my life. He orchestrated my whole day to show me my heart – how I was self-directed, walking in darkness and determined to have my own way.

I also realize that my anger doesn’t only affect me. Since that day Kristina has said things like, “I hope you figure this out soon” to draw attention to my attitude. I am learning to recognize when God prepares to remove my anger, and I am learning to let go quickly. I don’t want the whole lesson.

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:13)

Tuesday, February 17, 2009 8:42 AM

Karen P wrote: 

Thanks for sharing that, Brian.  It's funny how we can go glibbly through life noticing everything and everyone else but ourselves.

Tyler talked about this a little bit on our youth retreat last weekend... how we can focus so much on the "sin" issues, or what's going wrong in life, that we start to spiral down, consumed by our thoughts.  The difference comes when we focus on Christ and what He has done and is doing for us.  When we concentrate on Him, the other things lose their hold.

Thanks for the reminder.

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