In my kitchen, I have a secondhand fridge which, I'm sure, must have been previously owned by Murphy. You remember old Murph. The guy who discovered that if anything can go wrong it will go wrong and at the worst possible time. I believe this very fridge played a key role in the discovery of his famous law.
My fridge has one main quirk. The top rack was built in such a way that it would almost, but not quite, sit on its rack holders, thus permitting the rack to collapse on cue when bumped.
Let me tell you about the last time I had a guest to dinner. The food was on the table, but I needed one more thing out of the fridge. Taking it out, I jogged the top rack ever so slightly. It, of course, collapsed and took the milk with it, pouring milk all over fridge and floor. The food got cold and my guest waited while I cleaned up. I silently said a few choice words, wondered at the wisdom of God in blessing me with Murphy's fridge and then forgot the incident.
A few weeks later, I began to notice a distinct and not-too-pleasant odor in my kitchen. Soon it permeated the entire house. It seemed to be coming from the general region of the fridge. I was convinced I had a dead mouse behind the fridge. Maybe a dead moose. The smell grew so strong I considered moving out. Finally, I opted instead for moving the fridge. I couldn't find the corpse, but after a little exploration I discovered what seemed to be the source of the smell in a tray under the fridge. I was puzzled to know what the substance in the tray could be. Until I remembered the milk. The milk! It must have found its way into a leak before it was wiped up. Murphy's fridge strikes again!
None of this was what I set out to tell you. It's just a little history on the fridge to set the stage for its most recent triumph. Just yesterday.
I hung up the phone and launched into a flurry of activity. It was the first day of my church's family camp, and I'd arranged to catch a ride to the camp with some church friends. Problem was, they were leaving three hours sooner than I'd planned. It was now eleven-thirty. I had to be ready by one. All the things I could have been doing while I was dawdling the morning away would now have to be done in an hour and a half.
I began making a mental list.
"Pack my things, make a dish for tonight's potluck, eat lunch, do the stack of dishes in the sink, and water the garden."
I flew to the fridge to take out the milk and start lunch, and, you guessed it, bumped the top rack.
"I hate this fridge, I hate this fridge," I chanted like a mantra, then uttered a quick prayer of gratitude that I'd had the sense to stop storing anything breakable or liquid on the top shelf (though I doubt I was giving God credit for my sense).
I'd even managed to catch the rack with my free hand on its way down.
"I think I've beat the fridge," I exulted.
My elation was short-lived. I held the milk in one hand and balanced the rack and its contents in the other while I tried to set it back onto its rack-holder-thingies. Food began sliding off the rack. Something hit the mayonnaise jar on the bottom rack which rolled out and landed on my bare toes. Now I was hopping on one foot, holding the milk, balancing the rack, and chanting to myself, "I hate this fridge."
It got worse. Something else rolled off and knocked the yogurt out of the fridge. The yogurt container burst, emptying its contents and bits of broken container on the floor. Now I was mad. I didn't have time for this.
If you're like me, no matter what happens, you look for the deeper meaning. As I scooped yogurt into a dustpan, I tried to find some deep, spiritual reason this was happening. Usually, I assume God's giving me another test because I failed the last one. The test I always fail is a test of faith. When things don't go exactly right, do I listen to the little voice that tells me God knows what He's doing and He's doing it for a reason, or do I yell and scream and throw things. Invariably, answer b. I yell and scream and throw things.
This time, after my usual reaction, I couldn't stay mad. I broke down and laughed. I decided God was not only sending me a test of faith for me to fail, He was putting it in a very amusing package. It occurred to me that often when He gives me these little tests, they're really very funny. It's as though He's saying, "I know your faith is weak and faltering. I'll send the big tests to other, stronger people. I'll just send you these little ones. One day you might even pass one. And as a bonus, I'll throw in a dash of humour for you to enjoy just because I love you."
I was still laughing as I emptied the dustpan and washed it off. After I put the dustpan back in its place, I straightened up and caught my head against the cupboard with such a THWACK it echoed through the kitchen. I laughed harder.
It may have been the thwack on the head that knocked some sense into it. Something started me on a train of thought.
A few days earlier, I'd been doing some writing on the imposing subject (about which I know nothing) of the second law of thermodynamics and God's purpose in our suffering. I'd concluded that God allows us to suffer because He's trying to get our attention. I'd said that the only notice some people take of God is to be angry with Him when bad things happen.
Suddenly, another thought hit me like a thwack in the head.
"The only time you bothered to think about God today was to wonder why He let your fridge fall apart and your yogurt spill."
It was true. I hadn't given a thought to God since a precursory "good-morning-what-do-you-want-me-to-do-today?" to which I hadn't bothered to wait for an answer.
Quick as a flash, I found my Bible and spent a little time with God, laughing at His methods and thanking Him for His incredible graciousness to me. I'd been busy theorizing. I was comparing my experience with Murphy's Law to the second law of thermodynamics and drawing parallels in God's purposes for allowing both. I'd been so taken up with thinking how God tries to get our attention that it hadn't occurred to me that maybe He was trying to get my attention.
The skeptic may think my fridge fell apart because I was in a rush and wasn't being careful. Not because God had it all planned out. But I can't be convinced that God doesn't orchestrate everything in my circumstances including the second law and including Murphy's Law. Even Murphy's fridge.
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Hello again Connie. : ) First the Pickett's vacation, then Murphy's Fridge... My laughs our getting louder. I'm smiling from inside my abdomen, up through my throat.... and out comes a huge guffaw! Thank you.