An Antidote for Murphy’s Law

Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.   Isaiah 65:24

The past week I have finally gotten around to tackling an unfinished project begun nearly two years ago. At that time I planned for and purchased all the materials to put a cobblestone patio in my back yard.  Since then the bags of sand and all the pavers have been neatly stacked on pallets underneath our deck, providing a grungy high rise apartment complex for every creepy crawly thing that loves to lurk in dark moist places.  Also, surreptitiously slumbering in that pile of potentiality, just waiting to be awakened, is the nemesis of every do-it-yourselfer, the dreaded Mr. Murphy.  You know his mantra, “if anything can go wrong it will go wrong.”

The first order of business for me was to relocate two of the in-ground sprinkler heads.  In the process I had to cut the existing line and re-route it.  That necessitated digging new trenches, laying the black plastic piping and adding a number of connections in the water line.  When everything was in place I turned on the water to test for leaks.  Not surprisingly, there were several, so I proceeded to tighten all the clamps at the joints.  After repeated rounds of testing I ended up with one elbow joint that continued to leak no matter what I did.  It just happened to be located right under where the patio would be so I had to totally eliminate that leak at all costs.  Finally I even replaced the plastic connector and the clamps, but again no matter what I tried, it continued to leak.  Murphy was snarling at me like an agitated bear coming out of hibernation.

It never ceases to amaze me how all evidences of sanctified spirituality seemingly drain away when the littlest thing comes along to unnerve a person.  That leaking joint did it for me.  After several hours of running back and forth halfway around the house to turn the sprinkler system on and then off to test the connection, I finally gave up.  I put my tools away and called it a day.

To be honest I even lost some sleep over it that night, praying and trying to figure out what to do to stop the leaking.  The next morning, as I began my daily intercession time, I felt reluctant to even bother praying anymore about that ridiculously insignificant piece of plastic.  Why with so many people suffering the world over and so many serious, life and death issues at stake, how could I waste God’s time and any more of my time on that stupid leak.  And so I chose to forget about it and pray for others.

After breakfast, on an impulse I asked my wife Susan to take a minute and bow with me in prayer that God would somehow intervene to provide some answer for the leak.  Having said “amen” I decided to walk out onto the deck and down the stairs to survey the challenge.  It was then that I noticed a van parked in front of the house next door and the lettering on the side spelled the name of a local nursery.  My neighbor was out talking to a young man who appeared to be the truck’s driver.  To my delight, it turns out the guy was there to open up and test my neighbor’s sprinkler system. What a sight for sore eyes he was. 

I approached them, explained my situation and asked if the sprinkler guy would mind stopping over at my house after he was done and taking a look at my problem.  I assured the guy I would pay him anything, up to half of my kingdom, if he could fix the leak.  He affably agreed. So when he had finished next door he came over.  He examined the connection, did some tinkering with the clamps and voilà, no more leak.  Yes, it was that simple and an instantaneous answer to a klutz’s prayer.  So simple in fact that he would take nothing from me for fixing it.

The moral of the story is:  pray first, ask questions later.  It should keep Murphy away, but if it doesn’t pray again and he’ll eventually leave.

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2 thoughts on “An Antidote for Murphy’s Law”

  1. This is great! It makes me yearn for home, Dad, so I could help you with the home projects. I love thinking of the memories I have of working side by side with you!! I was also reminded how God remains patient with us when we come to our wits end and are forced into prayer. How thankful I am for His gracious faithfulness to wait for us to turn to Him. He never disappoints, does He, to hear our prayers?

  2. I loved this story, dear Tom. It is always a delight to watch God in action and see what He does for His beloved children who look to Him for what they need.. It was apropos that I read it on Father’s Day, because it underscores what a good Father He is!

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