Alarm bells were blaring at our house, but we were half a nation away.
On a special once-every-ten-years-vacation to sunny Florida with my husband's family, we were still rubbing aloe vera salve onto our sun-burned skin when a neighbor in snowy Minnesota contacted us.
"Your neighbors are hearing a loud beeping noise coming from your house. Do you know what it could be?" she asked, the text glowing grey and green in the dark night.
My heart raced. "Mark!"
In hurried conversation, we thought of friends we could ask to drive to our snow-dumped home at night and to wade through six-inch high drifts of snow in our unplowed driveway to check out the sounds.
Minutes later, our son's father-in-law in Minnesota grabbed boots and mittens and drove his cold car over crackly iced roads to our house.
In another time zone, in dark humid Florida, I curled up legs onto our borrowed bed, and listened to my husband's side of the conversation. He spoke door codes through the phone, and soon after, we could hear the alarms pealing over the phone lines, across the nation, and into our dark quiet room.
Entering cautiously, our friend sniffed the air, testing for smoke, for carbon monoxide, for anything amiss. The sound drew him into our son's bedroom. After locating the ceiling-mounted fire alarm and noting the expired battery, our friend Jay disabled the alarm until we could return to repair it.
And it was then that God blew us away!
In the silence that followed, Jay noticed the creeping chill. Frost blew from his mouth. Indoors? Feeling abnormally cold, he checked the thermostat. A blank grey screen lay where the numbers should have been, and the men spoke in concerned voices across the phone lines.
A blank thermostat confirmed the chill. A malfunctioning thermostat meant a malfunctioning furnace. A malfunctioning furnace meant frozen and burst water pipes were imminent.
I bounced impatiently on the bed in Florida while our friend in Minnesota headed downstairs to the furnace room. Mark and Jay talked about screw drivers and batteries and hard-wired boxes that should have worked, and they problem-solved.
And we saw it, how God had set off a fire alarm in the bedroom that was perfectly-placed to grab our neighbor's attention so we could halt the freeze before it burst our pipes and flooded our home.
Our creative God pulled the fire alarm, and I grin to think of it.
"Okay, it's thirty-nine degrees," Jay said, breathing into the phone as he wielded a screw driver in one hand and a phone in the other.
Twenty minutes later, Mark hung up the phone after we had thanked our friend again and again for driving to our house on a dark cold Minnesota night. In a month of record-snows and cold temperatures in Minnesota, our sweet God pulled the fire alarm and saved our home.
We declared it again and again, marveling at what he had done. Thank you, God, we breathed in grateful joy.
Brushing teeth and slipping into bed, we stared at our packed suitcases for the next day's flight home. Thinking of a gently-warming house, and fearful cats who would be relaxing after the alarms had stopped, Mark and I stretched arms under pillows and pulled the blankets higher.
"Let's thank God again," I murmured, wiggling my toes and leaning back against Mark's chest. His voice rumbled behind my head, and I felt my shoulder sink deeper into the pillow.
"What a creative God he is!" I smiled sleepily, and closed my eyes.
Hi friend, how are you? What are you thankful for today?
Do you live near Minneapolis, MN? I will be speaking at the Set Apart Conference 2019 in St. Paul this Friday and Saturday, March 8 and 9th. Come find me and say hi!
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