The Bail Out, Water Heaters and God

Maybe it’s just me…but I experienced a valuable lesson this week.

I heard my alarm clock start it’s morning wail at the usual time of 6:00 AM.  Getting up in the morning is not a problem for me.   I am a morning person.  Regardless of how much of sleep I’ve had, I love the start of a new day.  I am in my best mood in the morning.   In contrast, my wife and children do not want anyone to as much grunt in their direction anytime before noon.

I rolled out of bed and started into my daily routine.  I went in the the shower and stood there (no mental pictures intended) with great anticipation of the wonderful hot water that soon would greet me on this cold -12 degree morning.  As that stream of water started to pour from that Kohler shower head, it took a few seconds of denial before I accepted the fact that the wonderful hot stream of water that I was expecting was ice cold.  The jolt of that icy water was such a shock to my system that I was temporarily paralyzed there in the  shower.  I couldn’t move a muscle.   I heard someone screaming out adjectives and things that shouldn’t be said by anyone except a sailor.  It took me a second to realize that it was me that was doing all the screaming.  I’ve been on a boat before…but I do not think that that qualified me to be a “sailor”.

I finally got my bearings together and made a plan to jump from the tub to get out of this icy inferno.  As I leapt…  (I don’t really need to mention that I don’t leap well, do I?) from the shower, dripping of ice cold water,  my feet hit the floor with all the force that only a 300 lb. man can bring.  As for the brief split second my feet initially hit the floor, I had done pretty well.  But it was was next split second that got my attention.  Suddenly everything was moving in extreme slow motion.   As my arms and legs were flailing around like a rag doll, I was seeing visions of my younger days growing up on Walnut Street in Oak Harbor.  I was watching myself play football in Blakely’s yard.  I could see me running to the ice cream truck and enjoying a cone on those hot summer nights.  I was watching my life pass right before my eyes.

Then suddenly it was over.   I was only able to utter one more small adjective before my head hit the floor.  As I lay there, sprawled on the floor (again, my apologies for the mental picture) I began to take inventory to see if I was alright.  Nothing hurt except my pride.

I figured out that my water heater had gone out overnight.  The thought of why didn’t I replace it when the thermocouple went out a few months before was weighing heavy on my mind.   It was on it’s last leg…my wife told me so.  Normally this would not really be a big deal.  I am a pretty handy guy.  Changing out a hot water heater is not a difficult task for me so that would not be the problem.  The problem I had was one of time.  My wife was going to get up in a little bit and I had no hot water for her shower.  I would have rather faced anything else rather than having to tell her that she had to take a cold shower.  I went down to the basement and changed the thermocouple and crossed my fingers that this would allow me to light the pilot light so I could start the burner.  Maybe I could at least get some hot water for her shower.

It didn’t work.  I tried everything.  I was out of ideas.  I was going to have to face the music.

Then as I lay on the floor of my basement,  I fought off any temptation to use anymore adjectives and I found myself praying for a miracle.  “God, if you allow me to start this up I would do….”  I went on, “I promise that I will…”  I laid there and started to barter with God.  I was asking him for a “bailout” of my situation .  I wanted a quick fix.  I wanted to have it working so that I would not have to admit that I screwed up when I didn’t fix it when I had the chance.  I did not want to be held  responsible for my lack of action.

I was no different than the banks, car manufacturers, Wall Street and whoever else wined to Congress that they wanted a bailout.  They say, “Please fix all my mistakes and please don’t hold me responsible for my past performance.”

Now… don’t misunderstand me.  I am keenly aware of the condition of the economy.  I work in an industry that is closely tied to two or more of the very entities that are crying for help.  I know that the American government has failed in it’s economic planning for quite some time.  But it is too easy to just blame George W. Bush for all of the problems we face in our economy.  Easy yes…but that simply would not be the truth.  Our failed economic condition has ties that go back for many years.

We have been told that if we don’t do bail them out immediately…then the consequences of the lack of help from Congress will result in the end of the world as we know it.  As it has turned out for the banks, car manufacturers and others… none of these supposed “doomsday” predictions have  really happened…yet.

My situation was different…my doom was imminent…it was less than 15 minutes away.

Suddenly I felt ashamed.  I was only asking God to bail me out so that I would not have to face my wife.  I had not taken time to pray in at least a few days and I was living my life as if all I had to do was ask God to bail me out of my jams and he would do it.  I realized that God has only one bailout plan.  His only bailout plan is that He promised to forgive me of my sin if I asked Him to.  His Son Jesus Christ paid the price for the punishment of my sin with His death on the cross.  He would not hold me responsible for my sins.

My problems of a broken water heater and things that happen to me here on earth are not part of God’s bailout plan.  He makes no promises of a fix or a bailout of my daily problems….other than He said that He would not allow me to go through more than what I could bear.  I really don’t think that God is concerned about my broken water heater.  He is more concerned with how I dealt with my broken water heater.  He is not the great solver of all my self inflected problems here on earth.

Life won’t always be great.  I will not always be happy.

Those things are left for eternity.

As you can see, I survived that day.  My wife didn’t kill me.  And in a significant way, God allowed me to take a steaming hot shower at 7:00 PM.  I learned a valuable lesson that God wants to see my faithfulness and dedication to Him when things don’t work out the way I think they should.  He wants me to understand that He already gave me all the bailout that I need.

And as a result…I have a deeper appreciation for Bailouts…Water Heaters… and God.

But then again, maybe it’s just me.

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