Two weekends ago on Labor Day, my wife and I decided to go shopping in order to find outdoor fencing for our home. Unfortunately, we didn’t find what we wanted. However, along the way through the endless aisles of products, we found something that we did need. This time, it was a faucet for our first floor bathroom. The old faucet in our bathroom was very old, corroded, and would not line up correctly when shutting off the water. We agreed that it was time for a change.
So, we bought the new faucet and took it home. It was about 4:00pm in the afternoon and I decided that I would tackle this project, knowing full well in my mind that it would likely take less than an hour to remove the old fixtures and then install the new ones. That’s right, how hard could this be? I am not Mr. Handyman, but I surely could handle this easy project in a snap.
After reading the directions for installation (yes, I really did), removing all of the cleaning products from underneath the sink, turning off the water to my home, and getting my tools ready, I was prepared to whip this project into shape. The first thing that I noticed was how small my work area was underneath the sink. All the PVC piping, water lines, and the parts to the sink stopper were in my way and needed to be removed. It was so tight that I could hardly maneuver my tools to un-install the old faucet. I banged around and tried various tools, but I wasn’t making much progress. This was taking longer than I expected. With all of the man-handling of the parts, I eventually broke a shut off valve and needed to make a trip to Home Depot. After 30-40 minutes from the of purchase my new part, it was already 5:30pm and the old faucet wasn’t un-installed yet.
At this point I was getting frustrated, so I prayed a few times for perseverance. God didn’t answer me right away. I was reminder by my Father that he is a God of process. Some times change, improvement, or in this case the removal plumbing parts takes time. We often want instant results and answers, but He doesn’t work that way. God does not work like a microwave or Google. Learning to delay gratification is part of the maturation and character building process. This project was a good reminder of how He works within and through me.
Back to the story: After reaching out to God, the old faucet eventually started to slowly come apart. There were a few parts that just would not come free, so I turned to demolition mode to finally complete the de-installation process. It was now 6:00pm and I was ready to install the new faucet.
Fast forward to 8:00pm. I was still not completed with the project. Each installation step seemed to be taking me 2-3 tries to get it right. I was running very low on patience, but I knew God was with me every step of the way. I reminded myself not to rely solely on my abilities, but to give it over to the Lord.
Did I forget to mention that every 30 minutes, my son or my wife came by and asked “How’s it going?” I knew what they are thinking, but I was not quitting. This was a test of perseverance and God was fathering me through this entire process. I was not going to believe the lie that I can’t handle this.
Its 8:30pm now, 4.5 hours into this “easy” project, when my wife came by and asked me the dreaded question “Do you think we should call a plumber?” I said to her (something like) “Absolutely not. This is a project that I should be able to handle. This is about learning and growing into something that I need for my soul. Calling a plumber at this point would be emasculating. I need to be able to rule my domain.” I don’t think she completely understood what I was saying, but it was important to me to finish this job and to learn from my mistakes. I would not become a quitter.
To be transparent, this project lasted another three days. At one point, we even had puddles in our basement. However, I discussed my plumbing problems with several friends and eventually solved the issue. I am pleased to report that the new faucet is working great without any leaks or problems.
So what does God have to say about this issue? Does he want me to call a plumber in the future? I don’t think so.
Genesis 1:28 says “God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
In this verse, God gave Adam and Eve a job to complete, to rule and subdue over their domain (Creation). To rule and subdue means to have fierce mastery over something. God wants us to rule over and subdue the kingdoms that he has given us, not with an iron fist, but in a manner that will grow us up into the men and women he intended us to be.
Romans 5:3-4 says “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope”.
The Father is concerned with building our character. He is not so concerned with what job we have or what kind of car we drive. These types of trials, that require perseverance, grow our character and can be used as building blocks for bigger and even more difficult challenges to be faced in the future. Growing our character is a journey through many life events and if we always choose to take the easy route, then we miss out on the opportunity to receive His blessings.
God is also very much concerned with being in relationship with us. If we outsource the plumbing or other challenges, then someone else is ruling our kingdom and we miss out on the opportunity to be fathered by Him. Adam and Eve couldn’t call a plumber or someone else to rule and subdue Creation. They had something better, a close and personal relationship with the Father.
I recognize that we do not have the skills to tackle every problem and that some things must be handed over to the experts. However, let’s not make a habit of taking the path of least resistance when challenges arise. There is much to learn, character to build, and a relationship with the Lord to be experienced. Don’t miss out on what He has planned for you!