The rain from tropical storm Ike left two feet of backed-up sewer water in my son’s basement. His black Sunday e-mail read, “Our basement flooded yesterday. Since our insurance excluded flood/sewer backup in the coverage, we will be on our own for the cleanup and replacement of anything that was damaged (washer, dryer, furnace, hot water heater and treadmill). Also the ‘91 Honda Accord died yesterday.”
Helpless, I considered my family in the midst of a mess as I watched my husband in the midst of building his long, dreamed of workshop, trying to get it in the dry before the winter rains drenched building materials stacked in our backyard. He could not see his way to go to St. Louis to help.
In the middle of the night, I frantically I dictated to God a pile of solutions I had figured out and determined to go up over the weekend by myself. I kept telling God a lot of ways He could work out everything.
None of it seemed right.
As my emotions whirled, I stopped praying and waited to discern God’s message through all this turmoil.
The only message I got was the lesson I taught that week to the children at church, “Don’t be like Saul who could not wait on God.” Samuel told Saul he would come in seven days to offer the sacrifice and offer a prayer before they went into battle. While Saul waited to confront an enemy with thousands of well equipped men, he watched his own army slip away into hiding. By the morning of the seventh day, Saul had 600 men left and Samuel still had not come, Saul took matters into his own hand. He prepared and offered the sacrifice himself. His army needed the ceremony as encouragement in the face of such an enemy.
As he finished the sacrifice, Samuel walked in and rebuked Saul’s lack of faith. “You have acted foolishly,” Samuel said. I Samuel 13:13 NIV.
I knew Saul’s feeling. I did not want to act foolishly, but … still …
While I waited for dawn, my meditations focused on “Wait, I say on the Lord.” Finally, I relaxed, yawned and headed back to bed. I was tired of trying to tell God how to work out everything. I would wait.
Nothing happened the next day, or the next.
The work did not go any faster for us. It did not go any smoother for my son who had to work four 12 hours days right after the sewer lines flooded his basement. The tow company hauled their car to the repair man they had used the last time it acted up.
They asked nearby friends and family for help – and they waited.
At our house, over the next two weeks, building buddies came and helped my husband hoist trusses into place, cover them with plywood and tar paper.
In St. Louis, the mechanic said the problem related to work they had done previously. They fixed it at no cost.
The sewer company accepted responsibility for water backing-up into basements. In recent months, the community had voted to deal with the inadequate lines, but the storm hit before the work could be done.
A neighbor told them to take plenty of pictures documenting the extent of the damage before they began emptying out and power washing their basement.
They weighed the price of renting a power washer versus purchasing a machine. The sale on power washers at the Big Box Store for a few dollars above the price of one day of renting finalized that decision.
Saturday, friends helped drag their soggy possessions out of the basement and watched their baby while his wife enjoyed kicking out a water logged wall. The town established near-by collection sites for the trash. Three other days, by themselves and with other friends, the finished the hauling, power washing, bleaching and rinsing.
Now comes the process of sorting out expenses incurred with purchasing and installing a new hot water heater and furnace and the various irreplaceable losses and recognition that now matter what plans I develop, God has a better solution waiting for them – if I will just trust Him and wait.