When the Power Goes Out
It was a beautiful day. No wind or ice storm. No blizzard sweeping through our town. I was watching tv with the whirring of the fridge in the kitchen behind me when suddenly the tv went black and the fridge’s motor stopped dead mid-whir.
It was still light outside so when the power went out I wasn't too concerned. I assumed it would be back on quickly since it didn’t seem weather related. Remembering that my car was in the garage I thought while it was still light outside I should go see if I could follow the instructions Ron had given me to manually override the garage door. I tried several of the available keys I had and none of them worked to disengage the lock mechanism. Another resident, trying to be helpful, yelled out her window to me that the power was off so the garage door wouldn’t work. I assured her that I knew the power was out and that I was attempting a manual override. Eventually, I gave up on ever seeing my car again and came back to my apartment building. As I entered, my downstairs neighbor stuck his head out his apartment door and said, “You know the power is out, don’t you? Do you know the power is out?” I assured him that since my lights were off, yes, I knew the power was out.
Once inside my own apartment, I slumped into my chair feeling frustrated and not a little irritated. Why couldn’t I get the manual override to work and why didn’t any of the keys work that were supposed to and why didn’t I take my car out of the garage as soon as Ron left and move it to our outside parking spot like I was going to do. Oh yes, Ron had left the day before and was basking in the Florida sunshine while I was standing in my winter coat with the hood up fiddling with keys and regretting that I hadn’t listened to my still small voice to move the car when I first thought of it.
Within a little over an hour, I started to feel chilly and decided it would be prudent to go to a hotel sooner rather than later. Unfortunately, one of the taxi services in town is closed on Sunday. I tired their number anyway. I called the only other taxi service just to find they were closed down. The only friend I know here in town lives in the same apartment complex as we do and his car is locked securely in his garage directly across from mine. Then I remember a very nice young man who works with Ron. Maybe he could give me a ride to a motel. I sent him a message. I waited. While I was waiting, I could see vehicles coming and going from our parking lot. But what help was that? Should I take my little camping lamp that I was using for light now that the daylight had tucked itself away for the night and go outside waving it around until someone took pity on me and gave me a ride? While I was hoping, and while my sister and best friend in Nova Scotia were praying, I could feel the deepening chill setting into my fingers and toes while my anxiety level rose. Then, feeling completely devoid of any possible solutions for my predicament,
in my distress, I cried to the LORD, and he answered me (Ps 120:1).
The whirring of the noisy fridge was music to my ears. A lone light I had forgotten to shut off, came on. Warm furnace air pushed through the vents and in a split second life was good again. I grabbed the garage door opener, pulled my coat quickly around me and sent three text messages saying exactly the same thing, “Power’s back. I’m moving my car NOW!!!”
What a joy it was as I left the building to see the garage lights illuminating the once dark parking lot. Even greater joy when I pushed the button on the remote and the garage door obediently lifted out of the way to reveal my one and only form of transportation. My beautiful Ruby was waiting for me! I decided it would be best for her to get a better run in the cold than just from the garage to the parking lot and my stomach was telling me I had missed supper, so we took off toward the farthest eatery in town feeling light as a feather and hoping the power would still be on when we got back but not really caring because now I had everything I needed.
As I drove, I was reminded that the reality of the situation I had just experienced was very much like that of the ten wise and ten foolish virgins described in Matthew 25. The truth is deeper than just being prepared, although it certainly is that. No matter what I did to try to manually access my garage, it was impossible.
I was unable to do in my own strength what would have automatically happened had the power been on.
Our spiritual efforts are ineffective without the power of the Holy Spirit working through us. When the power went out in our apartment, it wasn’t because the power didn’t exist. It was because something broke the connection to the main power source and it required time and effort to restore it. The same is true of spiritual power. We sometimes wonder why it’s so hard for us to be a witness, or why we miss opportunities for Christ that others seem to have. Or something as simple as why is our day going so horribly bad. It may be because our connection to the power source has been broken or frayed with other priorities. The good news is, the power of the Holy Spirit is always there. It may just take some time and effort to restore it.
Father, I repent of my neglect. Please help me to make your word, your goodness, your precepts, the highest priority in my life. In Jesus name, and for your glory, I pray. Amen.