Right before Thanksgiving, the hot water heater developed a slow leak.
I bought a new unit and brought it to the house, but did not try to change out the old for the new. With three of our sons coming in for Thanksgiving, it seemed the wise thing to let them supply the muscle to make the exchange instead of me. I have not recovered adequate strength since the surgery.
The day after Thanksgiving, I made the necessary disconnections, and then had the boys move the old heater out onto the front porch where it was positioned to drain. After draining and getting lighter, I figured I could handle it from there.
It was a few days later that I moved it off the porch and onto the ground. With my hand trucks, I was expecting to have an easy job. However, our hillside and gravity had something else in mind. I inadvertently lost control, and did not have the strength to regain it.
The heater started rolling down the hill toward the road. I started running after it, but that was a silly effort. My next concern was my Christmas lights, which I always run up the sides of our driveway. I could envision the rolling heater snagging them up.
Once by the lights, I figured it would get stuck in the ditch. The ditch slowed it down, but momentum propelled it out into the road. A car nearly struck it, but the driver avoided it by swinging out into the far lane. Then, it rolled back into the ditch where it got stuck. Good grief!
I was having a most difficult time getting the dog-gone thing out of the ditch to put on the bed of my truck when two men noticed my struggling and stopped their vehicles to help. It took them about 30 seconds to get it loaded up.
But, I was so thankful. I did not know the men, but God apparently put it in their heart to help me with my difficulty.
I believe God has put it in the hearts of people to help people. We all need a helping hand from time to time, not so much with dramatic deeds, but, most of the time, help with little things that we cannot do ourselves.
What is realized here is not something that God has stumbled upon through the courses of eternal or human history. Have you considered that people having a heart to help people proves God? The Bible clarifies that we are made in the image of God. Who God is and what God is doing are uniquely demonstrated not only in the omnipotence and redemptive plan of God, but also in us.
One of the divine characteristics of God revealed in the Word of God demonstrates God’s heart to help mankind. He channels that characteristic through us. Therefore, when it is in our hearts to help others and we do, it proves in no uncertain terms the reality of God. We prove God whether we realize it or not. We even prove God whether we want to or not.
But, helping others also proves the goodness of God. We all too often allow ourselves to be influenced with the notion that God is not good when bad things happen. But, we need to counter that notion with the truth that the goodness of God is proved through the kind deeds and helpings of other people during times we need it most. Consider all the charity and goodwill that is expressed during these special seasons of celebration of the providence of God.
So, what touches my heart so tenderly is that those two men were used of God to give me a refreshed understanding that He is real, and that He wants to be good to me. I have appreciated so much those two unknown men, but I have also been drawn closer to my good God knowing that it was He who put it in their hearts.
In the meantime, you all might need to be more careful when you pass my house. You never know what just might roll out in front of you.
The Rev. Ron Branch is pastor of Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va.