Ninety-Degree Turn

Our dishwasher finally bit the dust. So, just prior to Christmas, I ordered a new one. It arrived on December 24th, which was just in time for Christmas — as long as I could get it installed, that was. Now installation was not a terrifically difficult thing to do. It was simply a matter of disconnecting and reconnecting the water line (screw on), drain (clamp on), and electric wires (twist together). But when I ditched the old one, I forgot to remove a very simple part – a small little ninety-degree elbow used in plumbing – that was required in order in order to hook up the water supply. So, off to the store I went. Now the store closed at 5:00 p.m., and, lo and behold, it was already after 4:00 p.m.. I went into the store — and even brought a picture of the part for the man to see of what I needed, because it was there under the “you will need this to install your new dishwasher section” of the install guide. Now the picture was not as clear as all that, but surely the man at the store would know exactly which one was the right one, right?

The man quickly led me to the “part” and said, “This is the one you will need.”

I said, “Are you sure?”

He said, “Absolutely. You see, it’s the same elbow that comes as part of our self-install kit.” And then he proceeded to show me the self-install kit, that included a little more than just the elbow.

I didn’t specifically check the price on the elbow the man gave me, and assumed it would be a few dollars. I thanked the man, and made a quick dash for the check-out counter where the lady scanned it. Then, she said, “That will be five dollars and seventy-four cents” ($4.99 plus 15% tax). In my mind, I felt a “jolt”, and thought to myself, “That’s a little expensive. The price should be more like $1.99.” You would have thought that I should not have argued about it, but I felt a “protest” in my mind, and so went back to the plumbing section again to double-check the price. Now where was that part, anyway? There were so many of them. I proceeded to find the one that I thought was the one the man had given me, and brought it to him.

“This is the one that you said I should have, right?” I asked him (for I had left the part back with the lady at the check-out counter.

He said to me, “No, that’s a 1/4 inch elbow – you need a 3/8 inch. The one I gave you is a 3/8 inch.”

So I figured that my desire to see the price at $1.99 was without merit, and that I simply needed to pay the higher price, because, after all, I needed a 3/8 inch and not a 1/4 inch elbow.

I paid for the part, and left the store. I then left the store, but still felt “nagged” about the price, so, I decided to call up the store again to double-check it. I called up the plumbing department, but the man could not attend to me, and the receptionist asked me, “Would you mind if I transferred you to another store?” For this was a large chain store that had other stores in the city.

I said, “That will be fine”.

Then, another man picked up the phone, and, having the part right in front of me as I spoke to him, I said, “Is such-and-such a part number the correct elbow needed to install a dishwasher?”

He said, “No, you need such-and-such a part number, not that one. You see, the one you have is a compression to compression fitting. You need a compression to MIP fitting.” The two looked almost the same (both were 3/8 inch elbows), but they were different!

I said, “Are you sure?”

He said, “Absolutely!”

Now by this time, it was about 20 minutes to 5:00 p.m., and the next day was Christmas day! We were having guests over and there would be plenty of dishes generated from that experience! So I flew back to the original store, and went back to the plumbing department, where I finally found the correct part.

I told the man he had apparently given me the wrong part, and he grinned sheepishly, and found the right part for me, according to what the other sales associate had told me. The price of the correct part was $1.99 – plus tax.

Can you imagine that? My thought that the price of the part should be $1.99 had been right all along! What does this go to show? Well, it goes to show something very interesting. When you are a Christian, and you have the Holy Spirit living inside of you, then the “hunches” you have may be much more than mere hunches! They may be, in fact, the Holy Spirit speaking right to you! But if we don’t listen, we’ll end up being miserable in the long run. For example, if I had not called up to double check the price, I would not have found out that I had not received the correct part. I would have arrived home after 5:00 p.m., sat down to connect the elbow to the dishwasher, only to find out that the part I had was the wrong part. What a drag that would have been!

Or, would it have been?

You see, as I was nearing the end of the installation of the dishwasher, and finally twisting the electrical wires together – black with black, white with white, and green (ground) with green – I went to my “handy-dandy” little toolbox that contained those little black electrical connectors otherwise known as “marrets”. Now where were they, anyway? Ah, there they were, not far from … hey, what was that, sitting right there in my toolbox? Lo and behold, sitting right there in my toolbox all along had been the correct 3/8 inch, compression to MIP elbow that the Lord had led me to, through that rather extended ordeal of having to call up the store again, and go back!

Now what was all that about, anyway? It was about how the Lord loves to have fun with his children, and to lead them, and to guide them in their daily affairs. Yes, God did guide me safely and soundly to get the correct form of that elbow, so the dishwasher could be properly installed. But the same elbow was sitting in my toolbox the entire time.

Hum. It really makes you think, doesn’t it? God does not ALWAYS lead us to take the path of “least resistance” when it comes to our daily affairs, that’s for sure! But, if we are willing to be sensitive to his voice, he DOES lead us! Perhaps today, you are thinking, “Life has been hard. Why did I even have to go through all of those hurts and trials that I have been through, anyway? Why could I not have just taken the short-cut, and skipped all the pain, instead?” Like the ordeal of having to go back to the store and get the right elbow when I had it there already in my little toolbox, that is perhaps a mystery, but it is one which God understands very well. God has his reasons for allowing the things that he has allowed to happen in your life, and in mine – even when he didn’t have to allow those things to happen.

Whatever happens in your life, and whatever happens in mine, this one thing we know for sure, if we truly love God and are seeking to serve him with all our might:

“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28, NASB)

Is God’s intent in all of this that life be easy? No, if the end result was that God wanted our lives to be easy, then surely he would always lead us to the “short-cuts” in life — the ones that consumed the least energy, the least time, the least amount of money, etc… But that is not God’s purpose. God purpose, as stated in the very next verse, is that we be conformed to the image of his Son, Jesus:

“For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son.” (Romans 8:29a)

This, then, is God’s purpose, in all these things. What then should be our correct response?

“Thank-you, Lord, for allowing all these things, yes, even the difficult ones, to happen in my life.”

Today, trust him, and thank him – even if the route he leads you on is not always the shortest one!