IF ONLY I HAD NOT...

 

A few years ago, on one of those rare perfect days when you just don’t want to be in the house, my wife and I decided to get some chores done that would keep us outside and enjoying the sunshine. It was a beautiful afternoon and we were taking full advantage of it.

We were both working in the garage, she was finishing up painting a recently installed door frame, and I was down on the floor, spot-shining the tires on her car. (No, no applause needed, please. I am a great husband and I know it.) We had been talking as we worked, and she made some comment that she could use my help right then. So, being the excellent husband that I am, of course I jumped to my feet to walk around the car that was between us. But…I had forgotten about the mineral spirits on the floor behind me that I had spilled a few minutes before. I had told myself when it happened that I would finish what I was doing, then come back and clean that mess up. If only I had not waited…

As I rounded the corner to go behind the car, my feet hit that spot and I slipped. My feet went completely out from under me and in a flash I had done a full face-plant, directly on that concrete floor. I laid there for what I thought was just a second or two, trying to collect myself, so I could get back up.

Later, my wife told me that she had indeed asked me for my help, but I didn’t answer. Instead she heard a crashing noise behind her, but because she was facing the door, she therefore saw nothing. Assuming that I had dropped something, she asked what I was doing. But instead of an answer, in a few seconds all she heard was a weird groan. (A small manly grunt, I am certain.)

So she turned to find out what was going on, and saw me lying face down on the garage floor. Coming to my aid, she helped me to sit up. She said that when she looked at my face to ask if I was okay, she saw the blood streaming from the cut above my eye. She took one look at me and left me sitting on that garage floor while she went into the kitchen to get herself a glass of ice water and wash the paint off her hands before taking me to the doctor…. No, no, no, that is not what happened…. She took one look at me, told me to sit there quietly and vanished into the house to get a towel to clean my face and staunch the flow of blood. (Truth may not be as dramatic and eyecatching – but truth is truth, and I do need to stick to it.)

After inspecting the cut, she suspected it needed stitches, so over my protests that I was just fine, (Did I mention that not only am I a great husband, but pain means absolutely nothing to brave men like Moi?) she carted me off to see a doctor. After running some scans to make certain that I had not caused any brain damage, the doctor stitched me up and I was sent home with a bandage over my eye, and a bruised ego. (My dear wife still debates whether the brain scan machine used that day that showed no damage done needs to be replaced due to faulty results.)

Folks, if only I had not spilled the container of mineral spirits on the floor. If only I had cleaned up the mess right then, when I accidentally created the spill. If only I had remembered I had left the spill on the floor. If only I had remembered where it was, and stepped eight inches farther away from that area. If only… if only… if only.

In life, too often we don’t realize and recognize the little things that we allow to come and take up residence in our lives, things that end up causing harm. Or we forget that we need to deal straight up with something, and later we slip and fall because of that very issue. And believe me, there are always consequences that come with forgetting to deal with little things. God told Cain in Genesis 4, that his attitude needed to be cleaned up. If he did as God warned, then all would be good. But if he neglected a change, then “sin lieth at the door.”

God promises that He will help us clean up our spills with forgiveness and grace, if we will ask for His help. Otherwise, a fall is imminent and consequences are not very pleasant.