There are few things more unsettling than hearing the sound of something dripping – in a place where you shouldn’t be hearing the sound of something dripping.
Saturday mornings are for cleaning, so one weekend last October I decided to start in the guestroom. It’s a place I often neglect because it’s just too easy to dump stuff in there when no guests are on the calendar. As I stood at the desk sorting through papers, I heard it.
Not something you should hear in a bedroom. I turned around, and to my horror saw a 3 foot wide stain on the ceiling in the far corner, and steady drops of water falling down onto a bookshelf, a sofa bed, and an assortment of other things I had let pile up on the floor. As I took a step towards the corner, my foot sunk into a very soggy carpet, and I realized this had probably been going on for awhile. I rarely go in to that room. Now I wished I had made a regular habit of it.
The next few hours were a flurry of panic and activity. Turns out the upstairs neighbors had a faulty air conditioning unit. Calls were made to family (for moral support), the condo maintenance emergency number (because of course, it was a Saturday) and my insurance company.
After the a/c unit upstairs was turned off and the dripping stopped, I surveyed the damage. One word kept coming to mind. Disaster. Stained and crumbling ceiling, ruined carpet, wet sofa bed, soaked bookcase. When the insurance adjuster came, he noticed the water had leaked into the living room as well, down behind the drywall and into the carpet along the baseboard.
Yup. A disaster.
God does try to remind us that He’s still got it all under control when things like this happen, and He’ll work it all out for good. Somehow. But in that moment when disaster strikes, it’s hard to see, and hard to believe.
That’s why we need to wait until we can look over our shoulder to really see if it was the disaster we thought it was. Of course I knew I’d have to replace the carpet in that room. But the insurance guy told me that it was a continuous piece out into the hallway, so they’d cover replacing the hall carpet as well. Then when he realized it had leaked into the living room, he said they’d replace that, too. And my living room extends into the dining area, so, you guessed it – new flooring for the dining room. I wasn’t sad to see the old carpet go. It was in sorry and sad shape and should have been replaced years ago, but it just wasn’t in the budget. But now, God was providing a way for me to do that. All because of a disaster. And as long as I was replacing flooring, I was able to forego carpet altogether and get wood laminate, something I’ve wanted forever. Makes me smile just thinking about it.
Nobody likes disasters. They disrupt and make for anxious days and sleepless nights. They try us and bend us and sometimes almost break us. But what if the disaster paves the way for something good? Makes me think of that song by Laura Story with the line, “What if Your blessings come through raindrops?”. I wouldn’t be sitting here admiring my new floors if that a/c unit upstairs hadn’t made “raindrops” fall into my guest room and ruin everything. Or so it seemed at the time.
It’s in the middle of chaos that we need to trust that He’s going to take care of us. It might not happen as soon as we’d like, but in the end, when the dust settles (or the dripping stops), we’re able to see what He’s been up to. I know my crisis wasn’t really all that important in light of what others experience, but it still taught me an important lesson.
I might not be so quick to panic the next time disaster strikes. It might just be the beginning of something good. Something like blessings from raindrops.
He has made every thing beautiful in His time. Ecclesiastes 3:11
To give them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; Isaiah 61:3
You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. Psalm 30:11