A year of checklists and provisions followed.
One of our favorite provisions was a brand-new custom stove from an H.H. Gregg going-out-of business sale. We straggled in on the last day of the sale, our current dishwasher having just bit the dust.
The faithful Jenn Air dishwasher had survived the rivalry of a flashy Fisher-Paykel, whose promising future had ended in an electrical nightmare. The Jenn Air demise had been much more sedate, no swearing involved (on either side, I might add). Theoretically, though, the temptation for various human imprecations may have arisen since the innocent machine stopped working after one of the kids ground the starter knob in the wrong direction. It simply stopped working after that. Wouldn’t even turn on.
Hence the trip to H.H. Gregg.
No dishwashers left. A couple of dryers with thrifty price tags lounged at the front of the store, but, without washing machines to match, they presented little temptation.
As David combed the sparse aisles, however, he came across a gas stove.
We had resigned to keeping the original gas stove that came with the house. We did eventually get rid of the pizza pan, complete with 2-year-old pizza crumbs, we found inside the stove upon move-in. “Waste not, want not” is our motto, so the pan was at first recycled for household use; but when we realized the finish was coming off, we gave in and threw it out. The range, however, with its greasy screen-covered vent that let in chilly air in the winter and trapped newly-baked pizza crumbs and bits of ground beef, was too expensive to replace so cavalierly. Made to unusual specifications, the now-three-out-of-four-working-burner-knob wonder was only replaceable by a custom-made option that didn’t make it into our top twenty priority expenses. After all, it still worked. And, compared to world-wide standards, it glittered with luxury (in addition to the grease).
But now, right there in the H.H. Gregg going-out-of-business-sale aisle sat a new gas stove. Made to our quirky specifications. Unclaimed.
David looked at the price tag and promptly tackled the nearest salesperson.
The receipt he brought home with the purchase told the story.
A $1500+ stove for $324. (I rounded down, but still a steal anyway you slice it.)
Ironically, by the way, the dishwasher we ended up buying cost more than the stove.
Even more ironically, when David plugged in the new dishwasher after installing it, the machine wouldn’t turn on.
Hmm. So had done the other machine. Yet more ironic, it turns out the breaker in the basement was tripped. The knob grinding had simply tripped the breaker. The innocent machine would have still worked with a simple clank of a switch. Most ironically of all, we had just hauled old faithful to the curb, where local scavengers had whisked it away. (We’re beginning to wonder if God has a special message for us about dishwashers, and we just haven’t quite discovered it yet.)
But, to the point, the provision of the stove trumped it all. An unlooked-for blessing of un-anticipated proportion.
Despite the year’s countless lists of provisions, however, the checklists seemed to be winning the greater amount of attention. Business ventures, property development, an LLC formation and its rabbit-like offspring managed to push even the deep breath of blog post reflection into the background.
God’s provision was clear, but His voice had become less so. I had once again entered “fix-it” mode, eager to work hard to get done what I thought was next on the list. A business grand opening, the emersion of an LLC, a membership with the local Chamber of Commerce: these were the things that got my inner gaze.
The path was from God, we believed, but the checklists had become my own.
One afternoon in recent months, as unruly thoughts clamored, I revisited the Standing Stones of the past year. The following blog entry lassoed my thoughts:
Perfect peace. Was it possible even in the middle of this swirl of human weakness and spiritual lessons? I pulled my thoughts back in. I didn’t need to try to manipulate God or the situation. I didn’t need to decide whether my dreams were from God or whether my emotions were fabricating a dream world. I needed to put my energies into gazing at the One Who already knew.
A lesson from 2015 recycled for today. Sharp and strong as ever.
How gracious that God teaches the same lesson twice. Or thrice.
Though pundits may claim that no terms exist for the concepts in the theoretical series following the term “thrice,” in a perfect language, they would exist, for God graciously applies His lessons over and over, far past the simple “thrice.”
Shoulders relaxed and the deep sigh returned. A blessed lesson to remember again. No pizza crumbs or peeling teflon involved.
I was gratefully content for the lesson. God, in His grace, didn’t mention the lab class that would soon follow.