Friday, July 23, 2010

I Think There Is A Lesson Here

It's been a hot summer here in the Ohio River Valley. The Kentucky-West Virginia-Ohio tri -state area has been much like the rest of the sweltering country this season, with soaring temperatures and brutal humidity. Spring was quite pleasant, but brief. Seemed as though we almost went directly from late winter into summer, with very little transition. When the first heat wave hit our area, I made a most unpleasant discovery. Something was wrong with the air conditioning unit in my car. All I got was hot air!

The 2001 Ford Taurus, which I usually drive, has rolled up more than 120,000 miles, and thus it is at that place where things have begun to "go south" mechanically. I have always been one of those car owners who drives the vehicle until it simply succumbs from old age. This has been a good old car (and I believe she still has many more miles in her) but reality tells me that I can't expect it to continue to be serviceable without the inevitable mounting repair issues that age and high mileage bring.

Like most everyone else in this economy, we are constantly feeling the pinch of household expenses and the general rising cost of living. As much as I would like to stay cool during my commute, and on the many errands I run each day in the car, the air conditioning was a luxury that I thought I could live without. After all, when I was a kid, there was no air conditioning in Dad's car and none in our home for many years, and we all seemed to survive pretty well. I am no kind of mechanic myself, and knowing how expensive A/C work can be, I have put off looking into repairs until my personal budget was a little less strained.

Brother, has it been hot in that car this summer! I've left the windows down and parked in shady areas whenever possible, but there is no escaping the oven like atmosphere of the car's passenger compartment. Being spoiled by so many years of comfortable motoring, I had forgotten the wretched "sweaty back" feeling from way back in the pre A/C good old days.

Thamer Calhoun asked me the other day, "Have you got your air conditioning fixed yet?"

I explained that it really wasn't that bad, and that I was waiting until the end of the month when I would be more financially able to have the situation looked into. He volunteered to take the car to a guy in Proctorville, Ohio who does a lot of automotive work for his family and for the volunteer fire department he belongs to.

"I can't afford to have it fixed right now" I explained again.

Thamer pressed on, "I'll just get him to look at it and see what might be wrong, and find out how much it might cost you."

Reluctantly, I gave him my key and reminded him not to let the guy do any work on it until I knew the amount of the damages. I took the little church van and headed out to an appointment at our local Baptist Association Office. (boy, did that air conditioning feel nice!).

When I returned to the church, my Ford was back in it's parking place. The key lay on my desk on top of a note with "Fixed" scrawled on it. I found Thamer in the secretary's office, where he was replacing a light switch.

"What's the deal?" I asked.

He grinned at me and said, the mechanic wanted to know if his pastor had stepped on anybody's toes recently. Seeing my puzzled look, Thamer continued, "The compressor was unplugged. He plugged it back in and the air is working fine now."

I felt like an idiot.

As far as I can tell, it must have been unplugged back in the winter, when some other mechanical work was done under the hood at another shop. Apparently the mechanic had just failed to reconnect it. The oversight went unnoticed until warm weather arrived and the air conditioner failed to work. I have been driving around all summer, sweating profusely, windows down, with a "wind blown look" hair style, for no good reason, other than my reluctance to have the problem checked out for fear that repairs would cost more than I could afford.

How many times have we done the same thing in other areas of our lives?

Physically, I unnecessarily carried a malignancy around in my colon for over two years allowing it spread to other organs. Why? Fear of the tests that would have discovered the problem. We had health insurance that would have paid for the tests, but I really didn't relish the idea of what I might have to go through. Turns out, my neglect caused much more pain and suffering than I could have imagined.

Often we carry other burdens (emotional, financial, physical, spiritual, familial, etc) around with us, when there is no need to do so. Fear and anxiety can take a terrible toll on our lives. They feed upon one another, and grow to a point that we feel completely helpless, when there is one who asks us to "Cast all our cares upon Him".

A well known old hymn contains these words:

"Oh, what peace we often forfeit. Oh, what needless pain we bear.
All because we do not carry everything to God in prayer."

What burdens are you lugging around today? Why? Fear of the unknown? Take it to the Lord. It may surprise you how simple the solution is, when you put it in His capable hands.

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