Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A Stranger at the Door

Last week, on a Sunday afternoon, our neighbor called. This wonderful neighbor and his wife are a tremendous blessing to us, and one of our biggest sorrows about having to move is leaving them. Neighbors like these come but once in a lifetime. On that afternoon, a repairman was working on our neighbor's furnace. For some reason, God laid it on our friend's heart to share with him that the family next door--that's us--had a heat pump that had not worked for two years and we were using a wood stove to heat our home. And God then moved in this repairman's heart to say, "Well, since I'm already out here, maybe I could go over and take a look at it."

So we got a phone call from our neighbor asking us if it would be okay for his repairman to stop by and take a look. I was kind of confused, because 1.) If we could afford to have it fixed ($7000), we would have done that a long time ago, and 2.) We had already had it diagnosed, by the company that installed it, no less, and we were told that it was beyond repair. We wondered if our neighbor, who has been so very generous to us in the past, offered secretly to the repairman to pay for a service call to us. We agreed to have him swing by, hoping it wasn't a waste.

He was a young guy, about our age, and he was here for about an hour, looking at not only our geothermal system in the basement, but our forced air furnace in the scuttle. I was doing the calculations in my head, just in case our neighbor had made no payment arrangement with him. From top to bottom, he said that our system was not installed properly at all. In fact he said that we had a secondary electric heat source that was not even hooked up. He left, promising to come back in a few days.

Thursday night, the night of our ladies Bible study and the very same day we listed our house with Cressy & Everett, he showed up at our door unexpectedly. He apologized for simply popping up, but he was in the neighborhood and he wanted to keep his promise. (How uncommon, sadly.) I was busy with the children and feeding them dinner and getting ready for Bible study and trying to get them all packed up for AWANA club. During the Bible study prayer, we prayed for our furnace, regarding which, believe me, we have offered many prayers to the Lord, especially in that first winter without heat. But now we are facing a different dilemma: trying to quickly sell a house without a functioning heat system. Well, that very day, that stranger at the door spent three hours connecting our furnace to an electric heat source that was present but improperly installed, and which the very same company that installed it failed to fix for us so that we would at least have some heat.

He finished while I was out in the church, and when I came back home, I asked, "Was he able get heat?" Rob motioned for me to stand under a register. Warm air was pouring out of that register for the first time in two years!

I asked Rob, "Did he give us a bill?" (As the family budgeter, I was adding in my head: two visits, plus diagnostic fees, plus any parts he had to use, plus over four hours of labor...gulp.)

"No," Rob said. As he was leaving, Rob told him to send us the bill, but he said that when he heard about our situation, he felt bad about it. He was happy to have helped us, and he was glad to have learned a little bit more about geothermal heating systems. Plus he was able to use some parts from the non-functioning component to properly hook up the electric component, so he didn't use any new parts. Have a good day.

Can you believe how good God is???? Who has ever heard of a furnace repair person who is a total stranger feeling bad for a family who has a broken furnace? Everybody he sees needs some help with their furnace; that's why he has a job! For him to give us four hours of his personal time, time away from his wife and three kids on a Thursday evening, knowing that he wasn't going to be financially compensated for his time completely astounds me. God simply put us on his heart, and I don't think he knows why he felt the need to help us--but we know.

We learned from our neighbor that he was going to be working on his furnace again that following Sunday, so I made a batch of our favorite cookies and took them over, along with a note telling him how grateful we were for his generous gift. You know what? We are almost out of wood. We do not have enough to get through the rest of these cold Michigan winter days and very cool Michigan spring nights. We will be able to keep the kids warm...simply with the turn of a dial!

We feel so loved by God!

God is shining an oil lamp at our feet and illuminating just the next step for us. We don't need to see the entire path to take each lighted step with confidence, because we know Who it is that leads us. He can be trusted. (Thanks, Jeny, for your thoughts on this on your blog!)

5 comments:

jeny said...

Oh Jody, I am so melancholy for you today. I'm reading and sobbing. From the first sentence, I knew where this story was going and I'm just praising our God for his faithfulness. He really is holding your family so close and taking such care of you. You may have just been visited by an angel you know.
Wow, this just MADE my day! I love you!

p.s. I did get your email. I am just so very far behind in everything. We're going to try to sell our house this year and there is so much to be done (as you are all to well aware) to get it ready.
Carpet is coming next week and all rooms have to be painted (my mandate) before it is installed. We also have to pull out the wood lath and plaster from the downstairs bathroom so all the dirty work is done. All this and keep up with Noah's lessons! Anyway, I devoured every word on that deliciously long letter and I will respond soon. I promise.

Have a wonderful day!

jeny said...

P.S. again . . .

When I wrote my post about walking in His light, I had you on my mind. It was for you my dear, I'm glad you were encouraged.

silent_ramblings said...

God is so good! I do believe God has sent an angel of mercy to you in your hour of need. So wonderful!

silent_ramblings said...

yes, Carrie and Nevaeh are just fine. they had to do a C-section, too much stress for them both. Carrie will be bed-bound for one month to recover from the clot. that's the last I had heard.

jeny said...

Hello my dear,

I'm sorry for the long absence. . . there is too much to try to explain, and it just sounds lame anyway. I just haven't been able to find my way to the computer lately. Thank you for your recent email. You said that I was much on your mind one morning and you had been praying for me. I remember reading that and thinking that it was a difficult night and resulting morning though now I don't recall what it was about it. Thank you! I'll write again soon. I love you.