“What is that awful noise?!” I said.
“Bdddrrrrddrrrrrdddrrrrddrrrrr,” replied a throbbing vibration from the laundry room.
I hurried in to look, and found the door of my upright freezer hanging open several inches, the contents melting, and the motor making a fearsome racket. “No! Son, when I sent you for bread an hour or two ago, did you really leave the freezer door standing open?”
Ryan was gone, attending a brothers’ meeting at church. I can pretty much count on this when anything mechanical goes wrong—and church work is the best. I don’t know if it’s the devil or just Murphy’s Law, or both in cahoots. I shut the door and waited a while, but I was afraid the motor would ruin itself, working so hard, so I turned the system off and waited for Ryan to come home.
When he came, it didn’t look good. He turned the freezer on only to hear it start roaring again. He tinkered a while, unplugged it and pulled it away from the wall, restarted it to more noise, unplugged it again. “I think we need to move the food to ice chests,” he said. The containers were starting to drip.
So we transferred as much as we could to the fridge freezer in the kitchen, and packed the rest into ice chests and boxes. A feeling was growing on me, but I was too shy to say it until our task was done, until Ryan was ready to leave the room.
“Honey, I just think we need to pray that Jesus will heal it,” I said.
I didn’t tell him I’d already prayed this prayer in desperation while he was at church, and it hadn’t changed a thing. When I said “we” I was talking about him. The Lord had started me on an extensive summer course entitled Honoring Ryan as the Authority In Your Home, with an extra-curricular non-negotiable elective of Deferring to his Spiritual Leadership.
He dropped a hand on the freezer’s side. “Lord,” he said, “I need you to heal this freezer. I don’t have the time and money for this.” And he left to do some more research on possible causes and fixes.
But I didn’t leave; I was thinking. Presently I thought, “Why not?” and I pushed the plug back into the wall. The noise started up, but shifted immediately into a puttering, ticking, readjusting sound that subsided most meekly into a purring, fully functional freezer.
I waited a while to be sure, and then I went and found Ryan. “I think the Lord answered your prayer,” I said. And He had. The freezer walls and racks got their frosty-pump-handle look back on again. We loaded all those boxes and bags of food back in—hey, it was a great chance to organize!—and in a few hours everything was nice and firm.
We haven’t heard the noise since, not even when my son left the door hanging open again the next week…
I’m not tacking a moral on the end of this story, but I spent time wondering why God answered my husband’s prayer and not mine.
I only know that in the past year I had begun to see hints in myself of the woman I never wanted to be—the woman who Knows Best, the self-proclaimed bearer of deep spiritual insights, tolerant of her husband and pastors until they come to the full measure of spiritual stature. So help me God; I never want to go there. And He has mercifully begun closing the path to me.
Thank you, Jesus.