It was a quiet Christmas afternoon when I received one of those calls we never expect and never hope to get. "I hate to tell you..." my cousin/next-door-neighbor at the lake began, and my heart fell. She continued...
"Something's terribly wrong at your house. There's water pouring over your gutters!" I knew in an instant my water pipes had burst during the recent unusual deep-freeze we had been experiencing in central North Carolina. There was a mad scramble during which all my surrounding neighbors searched frantically and unsuccessfully for a tool to shut off the water at the street. In a panic I called the water company emergency line and left a message, and then called my son who lives nearby, and praise God, he went quickly into action finding the proper tool to shut the water off. He then ventured into the drowning house, where he found Niagara Falls pouring down on my bed. With the speed of light, he rescued my mountain of pillows and soaked bedclothes, pictures sitting on the floor waiting to be hung, clothes and shoes from the closet floor. He and my cousin Tom then began the really big job of vacuuming out the 2 inches of water that stood on the floor of my bathroom and screened porch, sucking as much as they could out of the soaked carpet which was quickly wicking toward the living room.
I just sat at home in my chair in shock, offering prayers of thanksgiving for so many graces: (1) My cousin was at home next-door, home from church, and noticed the problem. (2) It happened during the day and not overnight. (3) My son was home, quick-thinking, and had access to the right tools to mitigate. (4) I wasn't staying in the house by myself (which I usually am). (5) My WHOLE house wasn't flooded!
Through the process of mitigation, insurance, repairs (which will be ongoing for some time!), God has spoken to me in no uncertain terms about the condition of my own heart and my past and present life. Though we had taken all the usual precautions (leaving heat on 55 degrees, opening cabinets, leaving a pipe dripping), it was discovered that those burst pipes had little to no insulation surrounding them other than the now extremely cold air. I think back to the years when I completely neglected going to church, reading God's Word, spending time in prayer. My heart had no protection from the cold winds of the world, and it "burst" painfully time and time again. I am horrified to think of the messes I left in my wake, some causing nearly irreparable damage to myself and others around me.
But, praise God, at the end of a series of bad decisions, through no choice of my own, and against my worldly inclinations, He rescued me and began the arduous process of repairing my "burst pipes" by drawing me back home. He healed my broken heart over time, through the faithful prayers of my family, urging me back into fellowship with the Church, and thus delving into God's Word with more fervency. My new and improved pipes were flowing freely, and I began once again to display the fruits of the spirit: "love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, gentleness, and self-control." [Galatians 5:22-23 NIV]
My water pipes at the lake are repaired now and protected from the cold by new insulation; thus, from them is flowing freely the water of life they were meant to carry throughout my house. My own heart's circulatory system, though, needs constant attention: the daily protection of prayers, studying God's Word, and the fellowship of believers God has so generously provided in my life.
How about you? Are you insulating your heart against the icy winds of the world that would have you thinking only of satisfying your fleshly desires, going along with the current cultural trends, or just being satisfied with "the good life," never giving a thought to your eternal destination or your impact on those around you? Trust me, I've been there, and the momentary pleasure is not worth the cost.
"Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not from the Father but from the world. The world is passing away, along with its desires; but whoever does the will of God remains forever."
(1 John 2:15-17 BSB)
NOTE: I strongly recommend you read the entire chapter (1 John 2), in fact, the entire short book of 1 John. (Click here: https://biblehub.com/bsb/1_john/2.htm) A wonderful beginning place to get back into the Word is the "Our Daily Bread" app on your phone. There's not only a short daily devotion, but a daily reading plan, and several other resources. You can even listen to the devotion and the Scripture. If you're not already in the Word daily, I promise it will change your life for the better! There are great sermons faithful to the Word available on YouTube and Facebook-- I post some of them each week on my Facebook page.