How I Learned a Lesson from a Dead Man After the Radiator Exploded

It’s rather annoying how one never really learns important lessons when everything is going peachy, lovely, fine. It’s not until life starts to suck that you have to fall from cloud nine (not a Katy Perry reference no matter how similar the phrasing may be)  and learn how this existence thing really works.

Book The First: Getting Punched in the Face by Life

Suffice to say, I came down from cloud nine, ten, and eleven this month. Don’t believe me? Let me list ten injustices recently committed against me by the universe.

1) Got locked out of my house during record heat. My neighbor was not helpful. The locksmith charged me $300 to spend 29.6 seconds opening a simple lock. He did not tell me the price until afterwards. Shame on him. *Hissing noises*

My face after getting the bill for the evil locksmith

2) That nasty derecho knocked out my power for five days the day after I went crazy at my local organic market buying fresh produce that will not last a week in a warm refrigerator. I was stuck at my parents’ home with an overnight bag.

3) I got pulled over by the po-po for having a break light out.

4) On the way to the mechanic to get my break light fixed, my power steering just kerplunk DIED. Had to get the car towed.

5) My mom let me borrow her Mercedes while my swag wagon (that’s station wagon for all you old people) was in the shop. While driving the afformentioned Mercedes, I rear ended an Escalade.

6) After driving the front-end- flawless- no-more Mercedes home, I parked in front my house and tearfully mourned my life and all its woes.

7) Then the radiator blew up. I jumped from the car in fear (one of my biggest phobias is having a car explode while being occupied by my person). My unhelpful neighbor opened her door, contemplated my smoke- billowing car and tear stained face…..then she shut the door. So unhelpful. Had to get the car towed.

8) I was stuck at my parents’ house for five days with just an overnight bag. Ever since I, the person who filled the fridge with food from the grocery store, moved out, they don’t have food. Ever. I don’t know what they eat.

9) I finally got my car back, and out of the blue, my key isn’t working. I have to alligator wrestle it to make the car start. I drive one of those European cars that is designed to pierce the soul with unbearable invoices whenever anything goes wrong. The key will be at least $200.

10) The world ended. No not really, but it kind of felt that way. Also, I’ll add in the fact that I have had blogger’s block for the last month.

So, the moral of that story is that I was in a really really really really good place for learning important lessons. However, when I woke up early this morning to call the tow truck to take the radiator-less, front-end-flawless-no-longer-Mercedes and my achy-necked, stress-acne-faced self to the mechanic, I didn’t feel like look for a silver lining or lesson or anything. I just wanted to go back to bed.

Book the Second: God Gets All Sneaky and Teaches Me A Lesson When I’m Not Looking

I sat down to read my Bible and eat breakfast. I’m reading through 1 Kings right now, and I read the story of Elijah and the prophets of Baal. Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever heard this story, but it’s rather amusing (as you may know, I have no trouble seeing humor in the Old Testament). To summarize:

Ahab is a super wicked king of Israel. He’s married to Jezebel, the woman whose name got turned into a definition for evil female. They worship a fake god called Baal. Elijah is a prophet of the God of the Bible. He got on Ahab’s bad side when he told him there would be a drought in the land because of his wickedness. In Chapter 18 , God tells Elijah to go talk to Ahab (the man who wants to kill him) and challenge him to a sacrifice-off (side note: I’m still waiting for the Epic Rap Battles of History version of this). Lil’ Ahab agrees, and uses his best Ron Burgandy voice to assemble the hundreds of Baal prophets chililn in Israel at  Mt. Carmel.

There, Elijah offers an epic challenge. The prophets of Baal will build an alter and stick a bull on it, and Elijah will build an alter and stick a bull on it. Then each will call to their God. The first god who answers by consuming the alter with fire, wins. Elijah let’s Team Baal go first. The following passage, straight from The Good Book, is one of the best taunt scenes ever recorded in a holy book.

“Then they called on the name of Baal from morning till noon. “Baal, answer us!” they shouted. But there was no response;no one answered. And they danced around the altar they had made.

 At noon Elijah began to taunt them. “Shout louder!” he said. “Surely he is a god! Perhaps he is deep in thought, or busy, or traveling. Maybe he is sleeping and must be awakened.” So they shouted louder and slashed themselves with swords and spears, as was their custom, until their blood flowed. Midday passed, and they continued their frantic prophesying until the time for the evening sacrifice. But there was no response, no one answered, no one paid attention.” (1 Kings 25-29)

Elijah steps on the dance floor. He has his helpers pour water all over his alter until is completely soaked. Then he turns to the heavens, calls on God, and BOOM. Fire consumes the alter, leaving nothing behind.

Ahab, Baal, and Team Baal: 0    God: 1

Book the Third: In Which I Finally Explain Why This Passage is Relevant to My Story

After such a delicious win for Team Real God, you’d think Elijah would be sitting pretty, feeling pretty good, sitting on top of the world, and just peachy keen and fine all around. Not so. He’s Lil’ Ahab & J’bell’s “Undesirable No. 1.” He wanders into the desert for a whole day, afraid, tired, and alone. Finally, he comes to a shrubby little tree, plops down, and says “I have had enough, LORD….Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors ” (1 King 19:4-5). Then he lays down to sleep. You can just feel his disappointment and frustration. God was the one who told him to go challenge Ahab, so why does he now find himself in the middle of the f*****g desert being hunted by a powerful king. He did everything he was supposed to, and now he’s tired and just wants to die.

anchorman despair Pictures, Images and Photos

Despair at Life’s Bad Turns

I can sympathize with my man Elijah here. And I’m not hated or hunted. Life can get so overwhelming, and I just want to go to sleep and never have to wake up. It’s an exhaustion that permeates body, mind, and soul. So, what happened to Elijah? Did God give him what he wanted… or maybe punish him for questioning God’s plan? Nope.

“All at once an angel touched him and said, “Get up and eat.”He looked around, and there by his head was some bread baked over hot coals, and a jar of water. He ate and drank and then lay down again.

 The angel of the Lord came back a second time and touched him and said, “Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you.” So he got up and ate and drank. Strengthened by that food, he traveled forty days and forty nights until he reached Horeb, the mountain of God. There he went into a cave and spent the night.” (1 Kings 19:5-9)

God gently wakes him up, and gives him just what he needs. He didn’t give him just enough to stay alive, he gave him as much as he needed to be refreshed and ready to go again. Interestingly enough, God didn’t just protected Elijah from giving up his life. Elijah is one of the very very few people in the Bible who got to skip death. In 2 Kings 2, God takes him up to heaven in a whirlwind. Pretty cool.


So, after reading this story, I began what promised to be an awful day (see Book the First). But for some reason, I felt calm and even cheerful. Here are six reasons why everything looked brighter:


Book the Fourth: What I Learned From an Exploded Radiator and Elijah  


1)  Even Elijah, God’s super faithful, totally bad-ass prophet, got so weary sometimes that he wanted to just give up and die.


2) If God’s super faithful, totally bad-ass prophet got overwhelmed, I shouldn’t be surprised if it happens to me, God’s barely faithful, cowardly Ezra.


3) God takes care of the people he loves. He doesn’t just give us what we want in order to shut us up (like a parent of a spoiled child), he lovingly provides exactly what we need even if we don’t ask for it or want it.


4) Peace, as defined in the Bible, is an abiding confidence that God is for us, on our side, working good for us. As a Christian, all I have to do is accept the gift of peace and say “Well goodness, I don’t deserve this at all, but  happythankyoumoreplease.”


5) I realized, while writing and thinking about this post, that being a Christian means I can actually sing along to that amazing new Sia song and say “Shoot me down, but I won’t fall,” not because I personally am titanium (what do you think this is, a sci-fi blog?), but because “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” Not only that, but “I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans: 38-39)


6) There’s always a blog post life lesson to be gleaned from a really terrible day/month/year/moon cycle.


Happy Ending To the Story Dance

Oh, and the first person to locate my hidden Harry Potter reference earns 5 Awesome Points. Have a miserable Potter-less life? That’s ok, make a comment about Kuzko, and I’ll give you 10 Awesome Points. Don’t know anything about either? Then seek help.


4 thoughts on “How I Learned a Lesson from a Dead Man After the Radiator Exploded

  1. I’m so sorry you have had a stinky couple of days. There was a time in my life – about 10 years ago – that everything went horribly wrong. I legitimately understand how you feel. Having the wisdom to find the lesson in the universe’s challenges is key to growth. Just think about how much stronger and flexible and wonderful you are because of your experiences. Or, if my words of wisdom don’t give you a warm fuzzy, just know that next week will be great!

  2. there is a reason for everything, sometimes you’ll see it right in front of you, other times you wont, just give it time. through Him all things are possible, an old friend taught me that. I cant relate to your situtation, perhaps mine may be a little extreme, but most recently I lost my aunt and two months prior to that lost my grandfather, in this year alone. the Bible is my security blanket. “For whatever was written was given to us for our learning, that through patience and comfort of the scriptures we might have hope. (Romans 15:4)”

    • Right on. God is for us through the relatively minor rough spots (like mine) and the real tragedies of life (like yours). That’s a great verse. I think I’m going to add it to my kitchen wall of inspiration.

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