The answer is in the SINK!… Vol 18
I brought home a fire extinguisher for the kitchen not too long ago. Not that we’d ever needed to use one before…but I thought as the kids were building their cooking skills, it was probably a good idea.
I called a bit of a family meeting and went over the operation of the new extinguisher. I showed them all how to use it, showed them where the directions were on the side of the extinguisher in case they forgot. We spent a good 20 minutes or so talking about the extinguisher…then we stored it in plain sight, in case they ever needed it.
Fast forward a few weeks….(I’m sure the way this plays out in my mind is much funnier than if I had witnessed it in real life…but then…I know my kids 🙂 )
My daughter is 18 and is awash in a sea of testosterone living with me and her three brothers. BK (before Kathy) she would do some cooking for herself as we men-folk frequented nearly every fast food restaurant in the greater Rochester area. It was some venue of charred flesh almost every night. We loved it. Leah hated it. (insert Tim Allen grunting noises!)
One day after school, Leah was trying to make some sort of ramen noodle dish on the stove and didn’t notice that the paper towels were leaning up against the back burner.
For you to fully appreciate this next part you need to understand that we live in a very modest, ok…tiny house. You can stand in the middle of the kitchen and if you stretch your arms out really wide, you can almost reach both sides of the kitchen at once. That means the distance from the stove- top to the sink is about 18 inches, as the crow flies. I mean… you don’t have to pack a lunch to get there.
So just as quickly as Leah turned on the back burner, the paper towels obligingly caught fire. This both shocked and scared Leah who immediately went into shrieking mode. She grabbed the paper towels and held them, (now burning briskly), away from her body while simultaneously shrieking/yelling for help. (remember the part when I said the stove was 18 inches from the sink?)
Brendan was out of smelling distance of the kitchen as he can’t stand ramen noodles, but he heard the screaming… well…everyone in Summerville heard the screaming…and he knew just what to do…he ran past the screaming Leah (who was now directing her screaming AT him), ran past the sink, and ran straight to the fire extinguisher..picked it up and considered how to make it work for many long moments. As he was diligently studying the directions, Leah was still screaming and now shouting at Brendan as she contemplated becoming a crispy critter if he didn’t hurry (again…all this happening still just 18 inches from the SINK!) (I mean if she had just dropped the paper towels where she stood, chances are they would have landed in the sink)
Brendan had a breakthrough and rushed back into the kitchen (past the sink) with the extinguisher blazing. He blanketed the kitchen (including the paper towels) in a cloud of white powder which did a couple of things. It put the fire out and.. immediately muted the volume on Leah.
When I walked in later that afternoon it looked like a baby powder factory explosion…everything in the kitchen was covered in chalky powder. But no one was hurt and the boys delighted in re-enacting and embellishing the story for full comedic value. Leah was not amused.
It really could have been a disaster then…but now… it’s just a funny story. The solution to all their problems was just 18 inches away in the sink…where the water was. But it didn’t occur to them. The situation had them paralysed with fear so that the simplest solution, the right solution, evaded them. They were too close to it…it was a… “can’t see the forest for the trees moment.”
We often lack awareness. How often do we try to find alternatives to our “burning problems” by other means instead of taking them to the Lord. Our first defense should always be to pray…it might be a quick shout-out to God, it might simply be a thought, it might be extended time on our knees. But in a time of trouble…he is our refuge…and he’s close by…less than 18 inches!
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress,
my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:2