Sometimes when prayers are answered, God displays what I think is a sense of humor. Before Christmas, one of those yellow-tipped corncob-holders slipped unnoticed into the garbage disposal. What a grinding racket it made! Our oldest grandchild, Caitlyn Mains, was visiting from Indiana Wesleyan College where she is a senior, and as this age set generally seems to do, she brought her boyfriend, Jake, along with her.
They were making an out-of-the way stop at our house in Chicago Friday through Saturday before they returned to Indiana by way of Valparaiso, where they were guests at a college friend’s wedding.
Oh, Lord, I prayed, help us to get that stupid thing fixed so we don’t have to pay plumber’s bills. The disposal was no longer grinding; now it was jammed.
Jake, the boyfriend, thrust his hand into the disposal to see if he could dislodge whatever was causing the distress. He had already pulled out some broken yellow plastic pieces, so we could determine a corncob-holder was the culprit. Of course, by this time, the electric current had been disconnected.
Now, I must admit, I admire a man who is not afraid to stick his hand into another woman’s garbage disposal. It indicates resolve; it hints at a person who considers himself a fixer. It reveals a fearless approach to coming up with desiccated potato peels and onion skins.
By this time, I was standing hunched over Jake’s shoulder, holding a flashlight into the dark hole of my sink’s disposal unit.
“See,” said Jake. “See that pin there.” I could see nothing. Jake had detected a small metal rod—the tine of the corncob-holder. “Just hold the light a little longer.” With no little effort, the metal pin was dislodged, the electricity was switched back on, and the disposal made its normal chawing-away sound.
Jake became my hero. I recommend this tactic for any boyfriend attempting to win approval from any grandmothers. In fact, since he’d just saved me $120, I offered to pay one of his applications to physical-therapy school.
However, after Christmas, the garbage disposal acted up again. This time it ground and moaned and just stopped. I prayed, Oh, Lord, help me to get that stupid thing fixed so I don’t have to pay a plumber’s bill. I, however, am not a woman who is much daunted by garbage-disposal collapses.
I even know where the key wrench for the garbage disposal is stored. Hoisting it from its place in the shadows under my sink, I poked the end into the hole and turned the mechanism until it jarred free. Some little yellow plastic pieces were probably jouncing up and down in the cavity. Then I found the little button on the left-hand side bottom of the disposal, pressed that, and voila!—we were in business. I threw away some food that was past its time in order to grease the cogs.
On Sunday, however, I whizzed into the kitchen, making last-minute preparations for guests who were coming home with us from church. The garbage disposal was clicking off a high pinging sound. The cold water from the faucet just sat in the sink. Prayed again: O Lord, help me to get this darn thing fixed so I can serve company and not have to pay a plumber’s bill. Should we take our friends out for dinner? What restaurants were nearby and open? I decided that the food was prepared, just needing to be warmed. We would bring our friends home; they’d understand. After all I still had one working sink.
Friends came. Food was great. Conversation better. We laughed about the comedy in our life, shared our sorrows, reconnected. David and I were both glad we hadn’t decided to eat out. The fire in the fireplace, the Christmas settings still on the table, the lingering to talk as the afternoon went on were all worth a little inconvenience. We left the dishes for a while and went upstairs to take a nap.
Coming down to clean up, I finally stuck my hand into the bowels of my recalcitrant appliance and felt what appeared to be a small juice glass in its mouth. Determined, I hauled and leveraged what turned out to be a half-pint canning jar out of the dark enclosure. Turned on the water, turned on the electricity; everything worked like a charm. No grinding. No moaning. No pinging.
And I thought I heard that small, still nudge that we can never really be sure about, See. You prayed about this one, two, three times. Just want to make sure that you attend, take notice and understand that I care about a housewife’s laments and other things like plumber’s bills.
Award-winning author Karen Mains has long had an interest in spiritual formation and the obedient Christian walk. She has written about the God Hunt in her book by the same name, The God Hunt: The Delightful Chase and the Wonder of Being Found. A hardback copy can be ordered from Mainstay Ministries for $10.00 plus $4.95 shipping and handling. Contact Karen at firstname.lastname@example.org and she will be happy to autograph a copy for you.
Karen continues to write content for her Christian blog, “Thoughts-by-Karen-Mains.” In so doing, she desires to touch the lives of Christian women and men and help them find ways to walk closer with the Lord Jesus Christ. In addition, through silent retreats, spiritual teaching, women’s retreats, Christian vacation opportunities, and other ministry activities, Karen helps each Christian woman and man receive vital spiritual food.
Through her Hungry Souls ministry, Karen serves as a spiritual coach to many Christian women and men, and teaches a mentor-writing class. And, through the Global Bag Project, she is working to develop a network of African women who sew exquisite cloth reusable shopping bags, Africa bags. This micro-finance women opportunity helps provide a much-needed sustainable income for struggling African families. For more information on this critically important project, please click here.
For decades, Karen and her husband, David, have served God through religious communications—radio, television, and print publication. They are the co-authors of the Kingdom Tales Trilogy: Tales of the Kingdom, Tales of the Resistance, and Tales of the Restoration. To find many valuable resources for pastors and congregations at the Mainstay Ministries main website, please click here.
Likewise, pastors will find special resources to help them prepare effective, life-transforming Sunday sermons by visiting David Mains’ website by clicking here.