Christmas in the Basement part 2: When Dripping Walls Continue to Tumble


The basement was drying out nicely. Three days after the event (see Christmas in the basement part1), the plumbing company that had originally installed our malfunctioning sump pump came to replace it. It felt good to have a new, reliable machine. Our days of wet and slimy basements were over for good!

Or at least that is what we thought . . .

To our dismay, the very next morning we had another swimming pool in our basement. I guess we couldn't quite decide if we wanted to keep one or not!

While calling the plumbing company on the phone, my two boys put on their boots and went to investigate. By the time I was down in the basement with them, my oldest one had succeeded in making the new "reliable" sump pump work. Meanwhile, I discovered that the extension cords were still connected to the fans that had been trying to dry our pool before the flood (For some reason, they went on strike when the second deluge showed up!) There had been live electricity in the water when my boys were "wading"! They could have been electrocuted! I quickly unhooked the electrical cords from their source. "How did you get the sump pump to work?" I asked cautiously.

"I shook the pipe, and that did the job," my oldest son replied.

I praised God that at least he hadn't stuck his hand in the water!

The plumber who installed our sump pump arrived half an hour later, but to my dismay, he would not take any responsibility for the new flood. He was willing to change the pump, but wanted to charge for a pipe connection that he thought was the problem. I had to call the company after he left. When I received an angry call from the plumber a few minutes later, I was puzzled. Why was HE yelling at ME? In my mind at least, HE was responsible for this second flood! I was the victim here, not him! When he hung up on me, I was so upset that I called the plumbing company again and told the secretary how displeased I was at the way I had been treated.

It wasn't until she cautiously said, "Sir, you are yelling at me!" That I became aware that my tone of voice was, indeed, quite angry. Bless her heart! I was taken aback, and I apologized. "It must be my Italian blood," I said. However that was a lame excuse. I have no Italian blood, not even 1%!

I then took three deep breaths and continued my saga with the secretary, and she was nice enough to listen to me. I later realized that I should have prayed after the plumber yelled at me. I had failed to rely on my Heavenly Father, and an innocent lady was hurt. However, despite my less-than-admirable behavior, God did not abandon me. Instead, He came through splendidly.

After I hung up the phone, I went to the basement and discovered yet another flood. I went to inquire about it and found that the floater was stuck under a ridge. The plumber's entire defense fell apart. This was clearly a faulty installation.

After another call to the company, I was advised not to touch anything. Hard to do when the water level continues to rise! But by that time I was used of floods, so I calmly watched my basement flood a third time as I waited for the manager of the plumbing company.

It was an hour and a half before he arrived. He promised me a new pump, one that wouldn't have a floater attached on the side. He also promised to have the basement cleaned out, at no extra cost to us. He even promised to loan me a dehumidifier.

All of this was to happen the following day, however, and our trials were far from over. The floater got stuck again, and the basement flooded a fourth time! In fact, the floater got stuck under the same ridge every half hour or so. Instead of relying on my own astuteness this time however, I asked my Heavenly Father for His wisdom, and He showed me how to remedy the problem. I attached the pipe connected to the sump pump to the shelf behind it. The floater was freed from its interference, and we were able to sleep through the night without any concerns.

The next day, the new plumber came and fixed everything as promised. He was a bit surprised by the way I had rigged the pipe, especially about the part that it had actually worked! God's way is always the best way!

This was actually the end of quite a pile of trials that our family had been forced to go through. Besides the four flood basements, I had lost my brother-in-law three weeks earlier to an unfortunate and untimely death. We then proceeded to lose two baby parakeets that had been rejected by their parents. My wife had tried to hand-feed them, but they didn't make it. My wife and oldest son fell sick to the stomach flu, and to top things off, I unawaringly succeeded in rubbing a mole off of my arm, resulting in a bloody mess. And now I am waiting to call the dentist, as a piece of the top of one of my front teeth is missing, and I am unable to brush that tooth due to excruciating pain. What will be next? A plane landing on my roof?

More trials are probably forthcoming, but I know that I can face them without any worries. Although I have many shortcomings, I know my Savior lives and His promise is true: "Remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:20 HCSB)

I have nothing to worry about. I have experienced that promise over and over again, and now I rely on the following promises as well: "The Lord knows how to rescue godly men from trials." (2 Peter 2:9 NIV); "No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he'll never let you be pushed past your limit; he'll always be there to help you come through it." (1 Cor 10:13 The Message)

We may wonder, "Why do we, as Christians, face trials?"

We could argue, like Job's friends, and find all kinds of explanations and accusations, but at the end, any human explanations will be far from the truth. The real reasons are far beyond any human understanding (see the book of Job if you don't believe it!).

Are you going through your fair share of trials? God may feel distant at such times, but He is closer to you than you think. Don't face these alone. Depend on Jesus and experience His inner peace. He is faithful, and He will guide you out of them.

P. S. Do you have any plumbing problems? May I recommend a plumber???

Rob Chaffart

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