We had a slight flood the other night. I almost stepped in a puddle in front of the kitchen sink, but when I looked under the sink, there was nothing leaking. That was when I noticed the river running from the laundry room through the kitchen. After I screamed in alarm, I yelled for the two older kids to help me because Ben wasn’t home. I stopped the washing machine from filling with water. We sopped up the water with more towels than I care to count. It was quite the production as we cleaned up the laundry room and set up fans in the kitchen to dry the floor that we’d just had refinished earlier in the year. Minor crisis, yes, but overall calamity averted.
The whole situation made me think of a similar incident with my Mom’s washing machine when I was a kid (at least as accurately as I can recall). We’d been at an evening Vacation Bible School session at our church. When we arrived back home, the carpet in the hallway in front of our laundry closet was soaking wet. The washing machine had leaked while we were gone. My Dad had been working long hours at the time. Instead of trying to fix it like he normally would have, he asked Mom to buy a new washer and have it delivered. When Dad began to install the new washing machine, he pulled the old one out and discovered that the machine was partially unplugged. Somehow, the plug had wiggled out from the socket. The machine wasn’t broken after all.
We all feel broken sometimes – isolated, unworthy, and lonely. We may even feel broken beyond repair. I wonder though, if at times, we feel the sense of brokenness because we are unplugged from the power source. In other words, we are disconnected from God. We may think that no one else has experienced emotional distance from God, but in actuality, most of us have felt a lack of God’s presence at one time or another. God is still there, but we struggle to feel him.
Many people in the Bible lamented the times they were lost in the wilderness or the desert (both literally and figuratively). When I’m feeling separate from God, I try to get back to basics by praying and reading the Bible so I can reconnect to the energy source. One of the verses that has always made me feel better says, “Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:18-19. God offers hope, even when things seem bleak. He is present even when I’m wandering far from him.
My obstinance is often the root of the problem. It’s as if I’ve inserted a plastic baby-proofing outlet cover into the plug. God is willing to provide comfort and peace, but I am too caught up in being upset or angry. I won’t let God help me. I won’t invite him into my life or the situation. I stand in my own way, sabotaging my path to become closer to God. When I find myself in those times of resistance, I pray that God will open my heart to his assistance.
Sometimes the journey back to feeling God’s presence is long and tiring. And, we may feel like we are barely hanging on to our faith. But God is waiting and wants to reconnect. Returning to our power source may be difficult, but it is essential to our wellbeing. God can help us unblock the way. Perhaps we are not as broken as we presume, but are unplugged from God, the giver of grace, love, comfort, and hope.