I came home from a women's leadership meeting at church one night to find everyone had already gone to bed. Feeling hungry, I went into the kitchen and fixed myself a bowl of fresh blueberries. They were in season and they were magnificent.
Then I heard it. It was a strange noise I had never heard before. It sounded like the lower notes of a cello and it was occurring at five- and 10-second intervals. Not only was this unusual but my dishwasher and the entire kitchen counter would vibrate at each interval.
What in the world could that be, I thought. Our dishwasher was in its last stages of drying so I turned it off. But the noise and vibrations continued.
I went to the bedroom and woke my husband. "Art, Art. Wake up! There's a strange noise in the house. It's a low, humming sound and it's causing everything to vibrate."
Art's a sound sleeper so he simply turned over and said, "It's nothing. Don't worry about it. It's probably the hot water heater." But we had only recently purchased the hot water heater, which had been installed, inspected and reset. Could this possibly be the cause?
Now, settled in the bedroom, I could still hear the noise and feel the subsequent vibrations. It was not just in the kitchen now. It encompassed every room.
Being the woman of faith that I am, I said, "We have to do something. We just can't sit here. What if there's something wrong with that heater and it explodes. It can cause a fire. I'm calling the fire department to check it out."
At those words, Art got up and went out to the garage. He examined the heater, then went to the fuse box and turned off the connection to the heater. That should do it. It didn't. The noise continued.
Now I was really getting worried. Art went back to bed and turned over. "I have an early day tomorrow," he said, "and I need my sleep. The Lord will take care of us."
"Well, I'm staying up in case something happens," I said. I gathered some treasured belongings and asked if our valuable papers were secure in our fireproof box in case I had to quickly grab them on the way out of the possibly exploding house.
I spent most of the night watching old reruns and praying during the commercials. Then I started timing the noises like a midwife. One, two, three, four, five, and I would hear the sound and feel the shaking; one two, three, four, five, and the cycle continued. In between "contractions" I prayed, "Lord, what is this? Help us, God." I finally gave way to exhaustion and fell asleep.
In the morning, we awoke to the same rhythmic sounds. "Thank you, Jesus," I said. "We're still here. We're alive and well. The house is still standing. But what is that noise?"
Our son woke up and we asked him if he heard the noise and felt the shaking. He said yes and mentioned that the night before he had turned on a switch he thought was connected to the water heater because the water was not hot enough.
Switch? What switch? He then walked into the garage and turned it off. The noise and shaking stopped, and our electrician later discovered it was connected to our attic fan, which we never used. I felt so foolish. The reality was much less foreboding than my imagination had been.
So while my husband and son slept peacefully, I had stayed awake waiting, watching, praying and imagining the worse. Have you ever felt that way? Have you had situations that were beyond your control and you didn't know what to do?
Sometimes we don't know what's happening or why, or how a situation is going to work out. We have no answers. We only have questions and we are forced to wait for and depend on someone who knows more than we do to take over and bring the solution. As much as I prayed, God did not show me what was going on. Instead, He allowed me to stew in my own fears knowing I was perfectly safe from harm. He knew what was happening and that my fears were unfounded even if I didn't. Instead of fretting I could have slept in peace and safety according to Psalm 4:8.
There are times when a major crisis disrupts our lives and we feel equally helpless in the face of it. God knows all about that too. He knows the end from the beginning and He has already promised that all things will work out for our good no matter what it sounds or looks like (see Rom. 8:28). He knows how to handle each situation, and we can rely on Him totally for even the smallest details of our lives—whether it's the unfamiliar noise and shaking of an attic fan, or the shaking of our security through unemployment, illness or loss of a loved one. We may not understand what's happening when we're going through it, but in His time He will give us understanding and we will rejoice at the final outcome (see Jer. 29:11).