It was supposed to be easy. After all, I’ve installed dozens of light fixtures; I can do it in my sleep. I probably HAVE installed a fixture in my sleep. Replacing the second bedroom light fixture in my new Huntsville home would be done in minutes, allowing me to get to installing the bedroom flooring. (Pause for laughter here.)
This would not be an “in my sleep” installation, other than the nightmare part. To begin with, I discovered that the white neutral had been wired hot. By “discovered,” I mean that the white wire engaging the foil insulation of the light fixture created a sudden pop, flash, and burnt smell—in no discernible order. I know, I know—I should have killed the power to the room, but this was just going to be a simple “turn off the light switch” installation. (My lawyers want me to tell you that this post is not a “how to” recommendation! I am posting against their strong objections.)
After resolving the little “hot white wire” problem, I moved on to completing the simple fixture installation. I eyed all of the screws, plates and wires, and I figured out the obvious way it would all go together. Only it did not go that way. I tried a different configuration. It did not go that way either. I was stumped.
It reminds me of this interesting exchange between Jesus and some of his close friends and followers. A man whose son had extreme seizures brought his boy to these followers of Jesus, asking them to heal him. They tried and tried, but could not do so. Finally, the man went straight to Jesus, who did heal the boy.
Then came the awkward question. “Uh, Jesus, why couldn’t we heal him?” You see, these followers of Jesus had been able to do some miraculous healings before…lots of them. They were stumped as to why they couldn’t do it this time.
Jesus explained: “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (The Bible, Matthew 17:20, NIV)
I don’t think the “faith” problem here was that they didn’t believe God could heal the boy. I think it was a “trust in their own strength” problem. They had done healings before. This would be another “in your sleep” healing they could easily pull off. Only it wasn’t.
God graciously reminds them (and me) that the only way anyone can ever heal someone or change a life is through His power and help. Having seen God graciously allow me to impact people’s lives for good, I can subtly begun to rely on my own insight and strength. The clearest indicator I have drifted into this self-sufficiency is that I stop praying. Why bother. This will be simple. Until it isn’t. And I run to God for help…like I should have from the beginning.
Which brings me back to my light fixture. I did what I probably should have done from the beginning. I read the instructions. Turns out it was pretty easy, but the “old pro” needed some outside help to get it right, or better yet–to get it light.