I have always been impacted by the verse in Deuteronomy 8. Remember how Moses said to Israel on the shores of the Jordan across from Jericho, “And you shall remember that the Lord your God led you all the way these forty years in the wilderness, to humble you and test you, to know what was in your heart, whether you would keep his commandments or not” (Dt 8:2).
You recall how the desert wanderings began because of the rebellion of Israel (Check out Numbers 13-14). So, by this time, all those who had complained against God had died. They had suffered the penalty they had pronounced over themselves. So, now it is their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren to whom Moses speaks. He invites them to remember the humbling test of the wilderness to show what was in their hearts.
It took forty years of humbling for them, so perhaps, I can expect the same in my life. Years of being humbled and tested to see exactly what is in my own heart and how to bring that heart into alignment with God’s.
I was struck anew with this Saturday with a simple home repair project.
First, you need to know, I am no handyman. That gene missed me entirely and landed firmly in both my bothers. But still, I’d prefer to attempt to fix simple things rather than pay someone to fix them. So, when the kitchen faucet was leaking, I took it on.
I found a YouTube with a similar type of faucet before I did a thing. I turned off the water under the sink. Then, removed the cap hiding the hole for the hex-key allen wrench to remove handle. Yes, I have a set of allen wrenches!
This went well. I then unscrewed the cover exposing the cartridge. I removed the cartridge and saw a flow of water still beneath it. Without the cartridge seated there, that flow began to leak through the base of the faucet and drip into the cabinet below. I was perplexed by this.
I tightened again all the handles beneath the sink. All were ratcheted down. Yet still water ran. I grabbed towels then a bucket. I still needed to run to the hardware store to get the replacement cartridge. It was about then my heart was exposed, right there in the kitchen. “I hate these projects!” I shouted. I was so frustrated and angry.
It doesn’t take snakes and a wilderness hike to expose my heart, just a leaky faucet! Unbelief is never far behind emotion. I then began the narrative against myself, “You cannot do a thing, Shimer!”
But I was wrong about that.
I went to the hardware store and, my first miracle, they had the replacement part. I came home. My bucket had not overflowed in the meanwhile! I celebrated this second miracle. I reassembled the faucet and turned on the water. I was shocked when this stopped the leak! Yep, my third miracle: it was repaired. I didn’t believe it would last, so waited to celebrate. But it has lasted.
It takes so little to access the heart in life. Perhaps every long red light, slow line in a store, delay while waiting on hold, home improvement project gone south, car repair issue, etc. are all simply little deserts, little opportunities for our true colors, the guts of our lives to be brought into the light. Then, we can see our hearts and repent of what needs repenting. And God can see our hearts and smile as we struggle with the little stuff to be strengthened for the greater things.
A tree is strengthened not by calm weather but by the storms. The storms strengthen roots, trunk, limbs and branches. Perhaps the same is true in our lives. Even those little storms, the faucets in life, God, the great economizer, uses all of it in order for us to become people who exhibit Him in this life more fully.
What’s God been using in your life recently?