See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Ephesians 5:16-17
Call me Mr. Fix It. I love to fix things and I love to be the hero. No matter what the problem, no matter near or far, no matter what. Back when Blake and Sarah were living in Savanah, Georgia, courtesy of the United States Army, she let us know her vacuum had a broken belt. Well, instantly my hero genes kicked in. It didn’t matter that she was eleven hours away…it only mattered that my baby girl had a problem and she asked her Mr. Fix It dad to solve the problem.
Now a couple of side notes. First, Blake, her husband, is an able Mr. Fix It guy in his own right. I’m not sure why she asked me but it may have had to do with “husband hearing loss.” It goes something like this. “Blake, can you fix the vacuum?” Silence. Just saying. Second, Sarah asked me to go by our Walmart and get a replacement belt. I just assumed she knew that was the problem. That was a bad assumption. You may be asking, “Oh, they don’t have Walmart’s in Georgia?” Well, actually they do, but somehow it made sense to her for us to go get one and take it to Georgia. Maybe they are just better here. Who knows? As it turns out, I actually had a belt! We had a vacuum like hers (or maybe we had given the vacuum to her) and I had a spare belt laying around. Cha-Ching! Thank you, sir and keep the change.
We get to Georgia and the day after our arrival, the time to fix the vacuum was at hand. First, I unscrewed the 1,247 screws from the top and bottom and removed the cover. It was then I had the first ah-ha moment. There naked before the world was a 100% not broken belt. So, I said to Sarah, “Hey girl, this belt isn’t broken.” It was then she said, “Well, it wouldn’t work.” Suddenly, finding a spare belt was anticlimactic. You see, as an amateur Mrs. Fix It, she had misdiagnosed the problem. So, I put the machine back together, including the 1,247 screws. I plugged in the vacuum and, of course, it fired right up. The roller thing was going around and then Sarah said, “Dad, the real problem is, it wasn’t picking up the dirt.” “Oh,” I said. And that’s when it got interesting.
Assisted by my son-in-law Blake, I began a close examination of the vacuum. It soon became apparent that it was clogged up. Now if you are not familiar with clogged vacuums there are at least three classes of clogs. There is the “partial” clog, the “hmmm, this is serious” clog, and then there is the clog of “Biblical proportions”. Since there was absolutely no suction, we knew this was definitely NOT a “partial clog”. We soon discovered we had the “mother of all clogs”. Upon examination we found, and I’m not kidding, three golf balls, two match box cars, and six inches of impacted debris. Holy moley.
Well, Blake and I carefully removed the trio of golf balls and two Matchbox cars. Finally, we began to dig, pull, tug and poke at the six inches of debris. Three days later (ok, not really but it seemed that long) the hose was finally clear. At that point, we emptied the debris catcher thing, cleaned the filter, plugged it in, and it fired right up. The results were incredible! In fact, before we could stop it, it sucked the carpet off the floor and a small section of the sub-flooring. (Ok, that part just isn’t true, but I needed to beef up the story.)
Soon we were high-fiving and celebrating the ultimate vacuum cleaner rescue. Mr. Fix It and his able assistant had saved the day. Now believe it or not, there is moral to this story—besides the obvious one that says don’t suck up three golf balls and two Matchbox cars with your house vacuum cleaner. The moral is this–when something is wrong, don’t automatically assume you know the answer. Sarah just assumed the belt was broken and it wasn’t. And, even with a house full of boys, never in her wildest imagination could she believe that her vacuum had consumed three golf balls and a couple of cars. I could just see the boys having such a good time with their new game of “sucking up” golf balls and match box cars…like “how many can we get in there?” Boys.
And what is true in vacuum repairs can also be true in our lives. When things just aren’t clicking in your life, look closely because it may not be what you think. Ephesians 5:15-16 says, “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” In other words, we need to watch where we vacuum—what we pick up, and where we step. Being wise is knowing what to do and then doing it. Remember the old saying, “A ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure?” Well, trust me, it is true.
Remember this, too. Take the time to figure out the problem—whether it is a vacuum or your life. You see, too often we just want to treat the symptoms and don’t want to address the real problem. All the belts in the world weren’t going to get our vacuum going. You should never try to fix what isn’t broken. How do you determine the problem? Ask an expert. If you are a Jesus follower, ask Him and He will point you in the right direction. Let’s be honest. Life can get pretty clogged up, but don’t let the frustrations get to you. I bet Blake and I took a rest after fixing the vacuum and maybe you need to take a rest too…in Him. After all, He’s got this.