Saturday, May 20, 2006


A graciously timed interruption

On my list of pet peeves--that is, issues over which I tend to nurse a grudge--near the top of the list is receiving a phone call when I'm in the middle of working on some crucial task. Although it's not my nature to outwardly lash out at the source of the interruption, I do have a shameful tendency to inwardly grumble and wish that the interruption would be over post haste.

While mowing the lawn this afternoon, I ran over a branch that caused the belt that drives the lawn mower's self-propel mechanism, causing it to run somewhat amok. I recalled that such a problem is caused by the branch somehow causing the drive belt to come loose from the blade pulley, so I flipped the lawn mower to try to reseat the belt. My efforts to do so by hand were fruitless, so I went inside the house to seek out an appropriate tool. As I was doing so, my phone began to ring. It was my mom. In itself the purpose for her call was positive, but yet I found myself resenting the timing: after all, I had a non-functional lawn mower flipped over on its side out in the middle of the lawn, and I wanted to get it fixed. After a few moments, I asked her if I could talk with Mr. Fix-It aka my dad. He gave me some useful advice, then turned the call back to my mom. After I was done with her, he had another thought regarding my problem, and spoke to me again. He reminded me to remove the spark plug wire before trying to do anything more with the belt and pulley lest the engine start.

As my dad's words sank in, I began to realize that my mom's ill-timed phone call could not have been a better-timed mercy from the Lord. Had I not spoken with my dad, I would have (in my ignorance of mechanical things such as lawn mowers) continued to work on the belt and pulley with the spark plug connected. Had the motor started, at least one of my limbs would likely have been turned into mincemeat. Through this "ill-timed interruption", God spared me from very serious physical injury.

As I write, I'm very thankful that this gracious providence happened today--at a time when I rightly understand it as an undeserved mercy from God--instead of in my charismatic days, when I would have understood it to be a confirmation of my wonderful spiritual gifts and my special hotline to heaven. A sounder understanding of Scripture has allowed me to give the praise and thanks to the One to Whom it belongs.

After I finished mowing the lawn--with my body physically safe and sound, and the lawn mower operating flawlessly--I called my mom again to ask her forgiveness for how I often inwardly grumble when she calls and to offer my sincere thanks for calling at the time she did. I went on to explain that her call, far from being an untimely interruption, was in fact a wonderful mercy from God. In so doing, I hope I was able to give the glory to Whom it belongs.

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