Do You React or Respond to Unexpected “Surprises?”

Ah, Christmas — ’tis the season for surprises.

Last week we heard a minor squeaking noise from our furnace fan. The noise stopped, but we had a guy come for a routine maintenance check. He walked up the basement stairs with that look on his face. A crack in the heat exchanger of our twelve-year-old furnace (with a ten-year warranty) was producing carbon monoxide emissions just below “red tag” level. One tick higher and he’d be required by law to shut it down.

You don’t mess with carbon monoxide in your home. Any level is potentially dangerous. And you don’t replace major parts in a twelve-year-old appliance. So we got the “opportunity” to have a brand new furnace installed.


My initial reaction to this fun little pre-holiday gift? Frustration. Didn’t need a big expense right now. If the stupid fan hadn’t squeaked… You can probably fill in the typical stuff.

Then… I had a chance to reflect.

The emission issue wasn’t related to fan noise. How long had this problem existed? How much longer would we have been exposed to this hazard if it hadn’t been discovered?

React… or respond. You see the shift, right?

Nobody got sick. We’re inside, warm, and safe.

Like most circumstances, this surprise is less about what happened and more about my perspective and attitude. My first reaction was dumb, silly, immature—you’re probably never gone there, but just in case you do, it’s great to know about grace. We get that chance to reflect, realize there’s a better path, perceive the blessing, and choose gratitude.

This week there’s likely some surprise waiting, a chance to be angry or to realize that, no matter what happens, we’re blessed. This week will provide opportunities to start over and choose gratitude.

And that’s not a surprise.

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Copyright 2008-2013 by Rich Dixon, All Rights Reserved. Used by permission.Rich is an author and speaker. He is the author of:

Relentless Grace: God’s Invitation To Give Hope Another Chance. Visit his web site

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