A few years ago, we had a strange situation happening at our house. Every time we turned on the water in our shower, the pipes would rattle. When I say “the pipes would rattle” I don’t mean it was rattling like someone was ringing a bell … I mean rattling LIKE THE STINKIN’ SPACE SHUTTLE IS PREPARING TO LAUNCH!!!!
So, we talked to a friend who was a contractor and together we began trying to identify what the problem was. Plumber after plumber would come in and investigate. The process was always the same:
- A short conversation with us.
- Turning on the shower.
- Hearing the rumble, thus recognizing there was a problem.
- Offering up a solution for that problem (as they understood it).
- Implementing said solution.
- Turning the shower back on to see if the situation was fixed (it never was.)
- Rinse and repeat
After watching this process repeat again and again my wife (who will forever be known as the “pipe whisperer” after this moment) offered a different diagnosis (and thus a different solution.)
“I think the problem is in that junction point where all those lines converge,” she said to plumber #4. “What if you bypassed that junction to connect the water at the tub level to the water at the shower head level. Would that solve the problem?”
“NO,” was the initial response of plumber #4. “That can’t be it.”
Now, this created a wild moment. Plumbers #1-4 had all taken a swing at the fix. They had tried strapping the pipes, changing the fixture, adding regulators, etc. Behind all these proposed fixes stood very accomplished plumbers with years of experience. On the other hand, you had my wife who had never plumbed a shower before, suggesting a different plan. However, since their ideas had not worked, and they were fresh out of hypotheses, plumber #4 gave my wife’s proposal a try.
It worked like a charm. No more rattle!
Isn’t it amazing how when you properly understand the problem, your solution is WAY more successful! Plumbers 1-4 misunderstood the problem, so their “fixes” solved nothing (except spending my money). However, Kimberly properly identified the problem, so her solution silenced the rattle.
I say this today, not just to brag on my wife (though I could go on and on … she has done this on more than one occasion for broken items at our house.) I share this story because I think it illustrates an important principle we are going to examine at Wildwood Community Church this Sunday.
Our world is broken. Everyone knows it. Just live here for any period of time and you will hear the rattle of this broken world shaking around us. Romans 8:22-23 states “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait …” People disappoint us. Government decisions are messed up. We cannot even keep the standards we have set for ourselves. The rattle of our broken world is loud. We all hear it. Death, disappointment, disillusionment, disaster, despair. I could keep going, but you get the idea. The rattle is LOUD.
Many experts step in to diagnose the problem for us. With degrees, podcasts, blogs, and books as their pedigree, experts inform us that the rattle is caused by systemic racism or capitalism or … in its most aggressive form in our context – the American way of life itself. Of course, each of these causes would bring with them a proposed solution for how to “fix the rattle.” The question is, has the problem been correctly identified? We all hear the rattle, but what is its cause? Before we invest our lives in a solution, it would behoove us to ask the question, what is the true root of the rattle … and let’s try to fix THAT.
This Sunday at Wildwood, in part 3 of our “Perspective” sermon series, we will be looking at Romans 1-5 in an attempt to understand the problem, so we can appropriate the right solution and identify the right hope. Misunderstanding the problem leads to costly changes but no true progress. Rightly understanding the problem and implementing the God-ordained solution can lead to transformation and HOPE. I am looking forward to continuing this study with each of you in our 9:00, 10:15, and 11:30 services this weekend. Hope to see you there! If you can’t make it, join us in our livestream at wildwoodchurch.org/live. See you Sunday, and bring with you any friends who may benefit from this study as well! (NOTE: come when you can, but know that more seating is available in the 9:00 and 11:30 services).
As always, you can catch up in this series by watching the stream of parts 1-2 by clicking here: