• Beth Hildebrand

When things happen in threes

The saying “Things happen in threes” really happens…at least it did for us. Last week, we arrived home after having been gone almost all day, to discover it was only 64*… inside…while it was only 30-something* with an even colder wind chill on that extremely windy day. The heating system was broken.

But that’s OK because we were able to schedule a time for the next day to have it fixed and made the most of it by lighting a fire in the fireplace (which we really should do more often anyway because it makes for good snuggle time). So my daughter and I decide to make some homemade zucchini bread. She’s enjoying baking and cooking these days, so she made the delicious bread all by herself (with a little bit of my supervision).

While she was putting ingredients in the mixing bowl, I was taking clothes out of the dryer so I could put in the load of clothes in the washing machine. All of a sudden in the kitchen I heard, “Oh no!” I turn my head to see in the kitchen what looked like part of the snow storm happening in Virginia had dropped some if it in our kitchen. Flour was EVERYWHERE including all over my daughter! All we could do was laugh. (and she wouldn’t let me take a picture of herself!)


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So two down. First the heater, then the mixer mess. As I mentioned, things happen in threes. So, while my daughter is wiping the flour off the counter, I open the washing machine to transfer the clothes into the dryer. All of a sudden I gasped and like my daughter said, “Ohhh noooo!” (you know the drawn out kind…and I admit it could’ve said something else but my child was just 15 feet away).


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There were hundreds of little, wet pieces of paper stuck to every piece of clothing and all on the inside wall of the machine. At first, I did not know what in the world it was. After taking a few of the clothes out, I uncover a thick wad of soaked paper and it dawned on me what it was. It was a large-print, Upper Room devotional, paperback book that I was planning to deliver to a lady at the skilled care retirement community the next day.


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So, strike three!

As the kitchen sits there with flour still everywhere, I began picking the tiny papers off the clothes. Not much later, I was at the point where I started shaking the clothes aggressively out of frustration, with paper flying everywhere as the tiny pieces flurried down to the cold, tile floor.


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As I was grumbling how I couldn’t believe all of this had happened on one night, I continued to pick up the wet paper and noticed words jumping out at me:

“…the ransom Jesus…price Christ paid…”


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and simply “Jesus” lying on my son’s sweatshirt proclaiming Jeremiah 29:11


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and the word “difficult”.


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Life can feel like it’s been torn into little shreds or scattered every which way. Life may feel like we’re tumbling around and around in a cycle, not able to see a way out or get our heads above the water. Maybe we need the dirt and grime removed from our heart and eyes so we can see why we ended up where we did.


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Maybe I needed to be reminded of the ransom and the price Jesus paid on the cross for the purchase of my salvation. Maybe I need to be reminded, this Lenten season, of the blood Jesus shed for me as he was slain as a sacrifice to rescue us.

Worthy are You, (Jesus)…for You were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God.” (Revelation 5:9 ESV)

But God promises us that light will appear at the end of the cycle; in the midst of it there is cleansing.

But if we live in the light—just as he is in the light—then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies (cleanses) us from every sin. (1 John 1:7 ESV)

David says in Psalm 51:7 “…wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”

He ransomed us to wash away our stains to reveal to us his glory. All we need to do is call out his Name. Jesus, the Living Water, the All in All and the Giver of himself as our Ransom, is in the middle of all our dirt and mess. He allows us to go through cycles to cleanse us, even though it makes life difficult. We are cleansed for a purpose…to be more like Christ.


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