Thursday, February 14, 2008

Snow lesson like an object lesson

Here is a somewhat embarrassing story that God used to teach me something (including humility). A couple of weeks ago I bought a snowblower. I couldn't believe I could get one so nice and so new for such a great deal. The previous owner was an older man who had undergone surgery for a broken neck. His top three vertebrae had to be fused and his surgeon told him that he had to get an electric starter, because pulling on the pull-start chord could literally kill him.

Now, as tight as things are, my wife and I both agreed that this was a good investment for us because I grew up in Phoenix, Arizona and I struggle with chronic sinus infections and mild bronchial asthma. Every time I shovel snow, I end up in a coughing attack and sometimes even have to throw up. So I was excited.

But two snow storms came and went and for the life of me I couldn't get the stupid thing started! I'd try to be patient with it, I'd try to be violent with it. I tried every combination I could adjusting the choke and the throttle. I pushed the little pump to prime the fuel line. I checked the gas, the oil and the spark plug. I couldn't believe how inept I could be. Why was it so easy for all my neighbors to get their snow blower's started? Was it just because I'm from Arizona? Is it because I'm so unhandy? Unmanly?

I pulled and I pulled, I yanked and I yanked. I exerted as much energy and strained my arms and back more than if I had simply shoveled the snow. Not to mention my blood pressure raising from the anger and frustration.

Take a look at this picture. From left to right, you can see the choke, the throttle, the spark plug and the button for priming the fuel pump, and the gas cap. All there in plain sight to anyone standing proudly in front, ready to drive, ready to lead and command the machine. So what was my problem?

Finally, one day I got home before my wife and kids so the garage was empty. It was a relatively warm day in the 30's with no new snow and even some melting. I thought to myself, okay, I have some time and some room, and no pressure- so I'm going to take a look at this thing one last time before I give up and try to sell it and hopefully recoup some of my losses. If I could get it to work, thank God, if not, then crap- I'd have to give up.

I'm not even sure why I decided to do this, but I got down on my knees to look around the rest of the engine to see if I could see if something was wrong- as if I was some macho mechanic.

Lo and behold, down on my knees, from a different, decidedly more humble point of view, something was revealed to me that I had overlooked.

A little switch. A valve that the manufacturer had no doubt, included to prevent gas from freezing in the lines. All I had to do was to turn it to the clearly marked "On" position and guess what- voilĂ ! it started on the very first tug. Didn't even have to tug that hard.

The lesson? Sometimes the only way God can show us something is when we're on our knees. Prayer & Humility, submission to Him. These may be difficult, but you won't believe how much less work and grief they involve.

Thank you Jesus for teaching me, even when I have to learn things the hard way.


  1. I know this is an old post, but I just found it while looking for Sunday School lesson help. I really like your true story and analogy. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I'll ditto what Valerie said. I found this while looking for an object lesson for church tomorrow. What a blessing! God has been speaking to me about prayer lately.