When You Need The Right Tools...

For several months the toilet in our bathroom has been continually running. We would shut the valve off to attempt to save water. I bought the kit to replace all the parts. I watched all the YouTube videos for how to do it (again, because this wasn’t the first time I replaced the innards of a toilet), but I never seemed to get around to dealing with actually fixing it. Our water bill only comes once a quarter, and when the last one came, my jaw hit the floor! Forget the fact that I felt like a terrible steward of this precious resource, our bill was about 7 times what it should be… the toilet HAD to get fixed… it had already cost me TOO MUCH. 

Isn’t that kind of how life is? We know something is an issue, but we don’t get around to making a change until the cost becomes too great. We ignore the broken relationship under the guise of needing space. We read the self help book but never get around to the implementation. We throw up some quick prayers, but never dig into the Word or truly seek God for the solution. 

In John 16:33, Jesus tells us “in this world we will have trouble.” Most of us have heard this verse and may even cling to the next part where Jesus essentially tells us “look I got this”, but how often do we still fret and worry, stew and pout, or simply attempt to ignore these tribulations?  We aren’t necessarily surprised that issues come into our lives, but far too often we don’t address them until it's too late and the cost has caused its own set of troubles!

Back to the toilet, so yesterday, I finally got around to fixing the running toilet. The issue HAD to get addressed, and I was ready to do battle… with all the nuts and bolts that were rusted in place! 

I got the tools I thought I would need and got to work. About 30 seconds into the process, I realized I needed a different wrench, so back downstairs I went. Throughout my all day process of taking the toilet completely apart and replacing each bolt, screw, gasket, and widget within, I had to make countless trips back to the tool box and even still, I didn’t always have the right tool and had to make do with what I had, even though that complicated and prolonged the process. 

While laying on my bathroom floor, diligently working to loosen a rusted bolt, precariously located in the tiny space at the back just an inch or so away from the wall, I was reminded of the importance of having the right tool when working towards a solution. I lay there with my rubber gripper from the kitchen drawer typically used on open jars, wrapped into a wrench, gripping the bolt at a less than desirable angle, painstakingly turning the bolt about an ⅛ of an inch at a time, surrounded by all the multiple tools I had tried to use unsuccessful, wishing I had a socket wrench that would fit in this narrow space. What I had ultimately worked, but not without taking an obscene amount of time and leaving me with a legit blister on the end of my thumb! 

In life, when the cost becomes too great, when we start to actually address the issue and work towards a resolution, isn’t this the similar process. We attempt to tackle whatever the issue is on our own with whatever tools we have on hand. When we do this, when we attempt to tackle the trials and tribulations of this life on our own, we aren’t using the amazing tools that have been made available to us by our Heavenly Father. Ephesians 6:10-17 tells us that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood” but instead is against “the spiritual forces of wickedness”. But Paul doesn’t stop with this explanation! He goes on to encourage us as believers to put on the full armor of God and to stand firm against the enemy. When we choose to put on the full armor of God, we have all the tools we need to stand against those trials and tribulations that will come our way. The belt of truth, breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the Gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit are powerful tools that as believers in Christ we have access to at all times. 

I love THIS prayer (original published by Church of the Highlands) outlining each piece of armor and thanking God for its individual benefits. I challenge you to make this prayer part of your regular routine, making a consensus decision to be intentional about placing each piece of armor on before facing the trials of this world. Afterall, when we use the right tools, it makes the solution fair easier to come by! 

- Elizabeth Kroner

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