Sometimes we are expecting to see the favor of God. We have prayed very specific prayers and fully expect them to be answered in marvelous ways. The answers don’t come right away, so we strain our eyes to the horizon, looking for his goodness. Yet the rain of his blessing doesn’t come. Instead, a nasty storm blows in. We are knocked down by one thunderclap after another.
We believed for goodness, yet found ourselves soaked to the bone and laying in a muddy heap on the ground. After all of this, we conclude that our expectations were just too high. We should be content with the mud puddle and avoid all this needless disappointment. This is when his unexpected goodness takes us by surprise, like a lovely flower blooming in the mire!
Chris and I had to close our business, Signarama. We lost a lot of money and our good name; but what was worse, we had lost our dreams. We had lost our confidence in God’s voice and his goodness. Our bills had increased, yet our income had significantly decreased. Here we were in the place we had strived so hard to avoid: utterly absorbed each day in the excruciating work of survival.
To top it all off, our dishwasher started leaking; a slow, steady leak under the floor. Pretty soon we had water seeping out from all the floor tiles. The tiles were old, ugly PVC stick tiles and now they were wet, coming up, and probably growing mold. It took a week to get the dishwasher fixed.
“Oh well,” I thought. “It doesn’t make much difference. Our kitchen is so awful anyway.
The cabinets keep falling apart and are so dirty; we just can’t get them clean.
The sink is stained and scratched. The floor is just gross.
We trip over ourselves in this tiny space.
But there is nothing we can do about it.”
Enter the Unreasonable Goodness of God!
Chris decided to make an insurance claim, and they gave us a good chunk of money!! We gave the money to a friend who is a contractor, and he got us an amazing deal on new cabinets, a new countertop, and a new sink! Chris organized his hardworking boys and his skilled and generous friends. They ripped out the old cabinets and the old floor. After tearing out the PVC tiles, vinyl linoleum, a very old layer of real linoleum, plus a layer of paper and glue…beautiful original hardwood was revealed. I had always dreamed about having this type of hardwood in my kitchen; thick, dark wood that reminded me of an old farmhouse. Chris worked hard to make my dream a reality. He and the boys pulled out several hundred screws and nails. He sanded 6 times to get rid of all the old glue and water stains. He tried a couple times before he found the stain color that reflected what I had imagined.
Chris rearranged the entire kitchen and created a pass-through so that the kitchen became more spacious and open.
I could finally cook in the kitchen while being able to see and hear what was happening in the dining room, sitting room, and living room. This completely unreasonable goodness of God came at a time when we didn’t know how we were going to pay our bills! Why didn’t God cause our business to flourish, or give Chris a new job that paid all our bills, or miraculously pay off all our debts? Why a new kitchen? God’s goodness is unpredictable and unreasonable! We just have to enjoy it.
God’s great goodness always comes to us in the midst of a mess. The perfect God works out his perfect plan with flawed people in a messed up world with imperfect conditions all around. How and why does he do this? It is a mystery, but I think it has something to do with the building and purifying of our faith. Faith can see that imperfections are just part of this life and recognize the goodness of God anyway.
It is easy to lose sight of the goodness. This kitchen remodel was no exception. I almost lost my faith in the midst of the junk. It is easy to look at the end product and see the goodness of God, but in the process, it is so challenging! Here is a list of everything that went wrong.
- It took months to even be able to start the remodeling because the countertop I had chosen took so long to arrive.
- As the demolition started, I found myself in panic mode. The dust found its way into every crack and crevice of the first floor. The mess was almost too much for me to handle. (The boys loved it and thought it was the best!) I was losing faith that my house would ever be clean and functional again!
3. We had to block off the kitchen, so we set up a temporary kitchen in the basement.
The only way to get to the basement was to walk out the front door, go around the outside of the house and enter again at the back door. Once the food was prepared, we had to walk it outside around the house again. Once the meal was finished, we had to carry all the dirty dishes outside and around the house again…you get the idea. All this work was to allow Chris to demo and then finish those hardwood floors. Sometimes when I was cooking on the electric skillet in the dark basement, I would notice a little face looking down at me from the top of the basement stairs. I realized that a little person had gotten through the barricade, and I felt like it was all for nothing and those floors were forever ruined!
4. We were getting close to the end. Chris had stayed up until 1am to put polyurethane on the newly sanded wood floors. I got up at 5am with my nursing baby. As I sat in the living room, I heard an unusual sound. I finally identified the sound of water dripping. But from where? I found water falling from the ceiling onto the loveseat. I went upstairs to discover that a radiator was leaking. A few hours later I entered the basement to make breakfast and found three streams of water all running into the drain in the center of the floor. Pipes were leaking everywhere! This turned out to be an unrelated problem with our heating system that was resolved within a few days. Yet, we were wondering what new damages and expenses were being incurred!
5. The new countertop had been made incorrectly so the cabinets had to all be changed and moved around. The result was an awkward corner cabinet, a drawer that could only open while scraping against the dishwasher, and a dishwasher door that could just barely squeak past the refrigerator.
6. A friend got our new-to-us gas stove hooked up on Thanksgiving morning so I didn’t have to cook the festive meal in a crockpot. Glorious! However, I kept smelling gas for the next two weeks until that same gracious friend went through the process of hooking it all up again just so I wouldn’t freak out. No more gas smell!
7. The ceiling in our dining room is so sloped that the brand new pass-through that was beautiful and perfectly level, looked completely crooked!
8. After we finally moved our refrigerator back in, it started dripping water all over the lovely, new floors. A month later, the pipes under new sink started leaking on the new cabinets and floors, threatening to begin this process all over again. What was it with all the water leaks!!!???
Chris and I thought we had ruined our new floors about 5 times in the process, because we had never refinished wood floors before and didn’t know what we were doing. It was so discouraging to get my dream floors only to sand them unevenly, sand too much, sand to little, put on the wrong stain, do the patching wrong, and so on. Finally we just decided that this was a RUSTIC kitchen, and that all the imperfections just added charm.
Our lives are not as messed up as we think.
They are just works in progress, rustic and full of character, and always being invaded by God’s great goodness.