The Parable of the Water Heater

Not familiar with that one?  And you call yourself a Bible scholar.

Just kidding.  (It’s not really in the Bible, shocking, I know!) Well…it sort of is.  I’ll get to that later. FIRST! – the story.

I noticed the other day when I went to take a shower that the water was taking longer to get hot that it had been in the past.  I’m no expert in all things home repair, but I assume this is because we had just replaced our hot water heater.  It’s just a little slower I guess.

It was the weekend of our kid’s birthday party.  They’re all fall babies so we decided-in an effort to save money and not ask our out of town family (which is ALL of them) to make multiple trips- to have one big giant birthday bash.  All our time and extra money was spent on this little party.  Being a stay at home mom married to a teacher with four kiddos?  Yeah, you could say we live with a tight budget.  Being so close to the holidays I was just praying that no emergencies came up that would cause a rift in the budgetal system (coined that phrase).

Of course, the day of the party I find a rather large and disturbing puddle of water in the garage and consulting the maintenance man AKA my husband, he informed me that it would need to be replaced.

Aaaaaannnnd then came the Howsies.

How much does that cost?

How will we find time to do that?

How hard will that be?

How long will it take?

How will I wash dishes and take a shower until that’s done?

We had no less than 15 people in the house 12 of which needed to take showers before the party and church the next day!  I felt the panic begin rising and pretty soon, in my mind we were living in a box under a bridge wearing trash bags for clothes.

And then God said – I’ve already taken care of it.

It sounded very much like my husband saying “Good thing I’ve still got that one we bought ten years ago.”

You see, 14 years ago, when we bought our very first little house; a little two bedroom, one bath “historical” (code for old and drafty) we found that the hot water heater it came with was kind of old and on its last legs.  About 5 years after we moved in, we added on another bedroom and bathroom for our growing family and bought a new hot water heater meaning to replace the old one and do some more remodeling to add a pantry where the old heater used to be.

Well….SURPRISE!  Baby number 3 came along very unexpectedly and so quickly after precious cherub number 2 that all thoughts of more remodeling went out the window and we just moved to a bigger house.  Our first little nest remained with us as a rental until just recently when we sold it to move to East Texas.

Never once did that original hot water heater give us, or any of our tenants any trouble.  So…..when we moved; our unopened, brand new, unused hot water heater came with us.

And here it waited, patiently – for a year.  Waiting for just the right moment when we had absolutely nothing to spare.  No time…no money…nothing.  And when that “one more thing” should have pushed me into a crying mess of despair, God said

I’ve already taken care of it.

He knew, ya’ll!  He knew ten years ago the exact moment when we would need that heater.

So, where in the Bible is a similar story?  Well, it wasn’t a hot water heater, but it was a bird.

Pine Grosbeak eating frozen rowan berries

As Jesus is speaking to the crowd giving his “Sermon on the Mount”, He speaks of a lot of things, but in Matthew 6:25-34, He speaks of the birds.

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Another example that also just blows me away is the story of Joseph.  In this case, it’s not exactly about Joseph, but his brothers.  At a time when they had nothing to spare, no food, no money, nothing – they were at their end; God had already provided.  Joseph, through his ability to interpret dreams had already made a plan to store up food for a coming famine.  God knew what was coming and had already taken care of it. (Genesis 41-45)
Ya’ll I just got chills!!  He already took care of it.

That doesn’t mean that every problem, or every crisis what we run into will have an immediate and easy solution; but it does mean that God CARES about us, about our needs both physically and spiritually.  He provides for us and for our ultimate crisis – the crisis of sin and death separating us from Him for eternity.  He already took care of that too.  Jesus.

My new hot water heater takes a little longer than the other to heat the water – so it’s not perfectly fixed with no trace that there was ever a problem.  But – in those few seconds that I now have to wait…I am reminded every.single.day. that God provided.  I hope I never get used to that delay and forget.  Those extra seconds which at first seemed annoying a precious to me.  Moments in which I can remember to get a towel and offer up genuine words of thanks to a God who cares.

Jesus died on the cross to pay what we can not.  He was the holy blameless lamb sent as the final and ultimate sacrifice finally closing the gap between us – sinful man – and God – Holy.

More chills.

Thank you Lord, for providing before there was even a need.

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