It’s not often that we get to experience the same level of anxiety as our kids do. My little girl who just started kindergarten last year has been afraid of using the bathroom lately. Ever since she learned about the story of The Great Flood in school she has a fear that the toilet won’t flush, but spill over and cause a flood, one that will flood the world again.
I’ve tried all kinds of explanations as to why that wouldn’t happen. From telling her about God’s Covenant with Noah, to watching videos on YouTube that show how toilets work. We even poured buckets of water into the toilet just to show how even an elephant could do a number one on the toilet and it would not flood. However, she still struggles, and some days are better than others.
Yesterday I received a call from her school. Her teacher informed me that she had an accident and was too afraid to go into the washroom to change into her clean clothes. I mentioned her fear of the toilet flooding and her teacher explained that in fact some of the kids have been trying to flush paper towels, causing the toilet to clog and spill over. Having an aha moment, her teacher told me she would speak to the class, and hopefully help rest some fears any of the kids may have.
After getting her changed, we decided to leave school early as she was still feeling upset. We went to McDonald’s, shrugged off the whole thing, and were thankful to God for allowing us to have an extra hour together in the day.
Later in the evening I went into the basement to clean out our cat’s litter box. As I walked down the stairs into the basement a damp odor hit me. I joked in my mind that it smells like my basement flooded, and how ‘funny’ that would be if it were actually true. As I got to the bottom of the stairs and saw the light reflect off the floor the humor of a flooded basement wore off very quickly.
I put on my slippers which I always leave at the bottom of the stairs and waded through ankle deep water. I guess they were somehow supposed to add a layer of protection from any potential sewage that had backed up (think Brita filter). Maybe I should have put boots on, but at this point I just wanted to find out where it was coming from and what was damaged, and I was still in disbelief that my basement had actually flooded.
Luckily the water had stopped just shy of anything valuable or sentimental. Only the items in the middle of the basement were damaged, and all of those items were already marked for the trash heap or donation (I am in a never ending cycle of trying to get my basement in order). I then discovered that it was one of those items that had caused the problem to begin with. An old green area rug was accidentally placed over the floor drain, preventing any water from escaping. I haven’t found the source of the water yet (which appears to be just water), but I suspect that the recent warm weather we had and resulting rain played a part, with the water having no where to go outside due to the ground being frozen.
As the water slowly started receding through the newly uncovered drain hole I thanked God that nothing too important was damaged. I also felt pretty good about myself, thinking how it didn’t really bother me that my basement flooded. How the little things can’t really shake me anymore the closer I walk with God. At least so I thought.
After putting my little girl to bed and laying down with her, I was awoken at midnight to find that the house was very cold. The lie that I wanted to believe was that the thermostat had somehow reprogrammed itself and I just needed to crank the heat up and all will be well. But in my gut I knew the truth. The water must have been high enough at some point to get to the furnace and damage it. After unsuccessfully fiddling with the thermostat I headed for the basement, which at least by this point had been drained of all the water. As I approached the furnace, which was as silent as a gravestone, I felt anxious and discouraged when I saw the waterline. Will I be able to afford to get it fixed? How freezing cold will my house get overnight? Will the pipes freeze and burst? Why another obstacle God? Do I pray to God to fix my furnace (at which point I thought am I just being ridiculous now)?
Well I did. I prayed to God to help me fix my furnace. As I finished praying I thought, why don’t I check Google to see what the common troubleshooting issues were. I pulled out the air filter, which had absorbed some water and was now blocking the air from passing through. I read that a clogged filter will cause the heat exchanger to overheat and cause the furnace to shut off. I took the filter out, gave the furnace time to cool down, and 15 minutes later the house was once again being filled with warm air.
I felt compelled to share this story as I think it was less a coincidence and more of a lesson. It is easy to jump to conclusions and imagine a flood in our minds when we are afraid or encounter problems in our lives. We need to have faith that God will not allow us to drown. And maybe the rainbow that we are waiting for is already here inside of us, as God’s courage, strength, and love.