The word “uncanny” gives me a distinct impression: odd, unnatural, almost disturbingly coincidental.
Out of curiosity, I looked up the definition (because I do things like that for fun.)
Merriam Webster Dictionary defines uncanny as “seeming to have a supernatural character or origin.”
The “uncanny” I faced last week certainly fit that description.
My sisters visited last Friday. They were kind enough to babysit Cailyn while Sam and I put in a few hours of work in the morning. We made lunch after work. I decided to try out my new spiral potato slicer – potato-chip-thin slices in minutes! Put those in the oven while we ate. After lunch we decided to take advantage of the sun gracing our sky and walk to the nearby bookstore. We spent about an hour browsing around before heading home. Somewhere on the walk home, potato chips came up in the conversation.
Potato chips in the oven. The oven still on. Nearly two hours since we’ve been home. Panic? Don’t panic. Keep walking. Breathe. If the house was burning down we’d hear/see it by now. Sirens. Sirens?! Coming closer?? No way. Mind must be playing tricks on me. We pick up the pace. Sam starts running. He’ll make sure everything’s okay. Look over my shoulder. Sirens still coming. All the worst scenarios swarms through my head. Look again. Fire truck turning in our direction. Sinking in my stomach. Sickening feeling washing over. Praying. Walking faster but refusing to run. What good would it do? Fire truck whipping past us. Fire truck reaching our corner. Fire truck… keeps driving? Keep walking. Breathe. Can’t shake the feeling. Was it lost? Fire truck turns the next corner. Will it turn back? House in sight. No smoke. No flames. No more sirens. Sam on the porch step. All intact. Sighs all around. Oven turned off. No damage done. Just blackened charcoal chips. Not even a smoke alarm. Just thin wafts lingering in the sunbeams.
Disturbingly coincidently or undeniably supernatural. It certainly struck a nerve.
But more than that, as I thought back on it over the next few days I felt a deep sense of gratitude, protection, and even humility. There was no reason it shouldn’t have been our house that the fire truck was driving to. There was no reason for there to be no harm nor damage. There was no reason my lazy forgetfulness shouldn’t have resulted in steeper consequences. But it wasn’t. It didn’t. And I don’t think I’m going too far to say it was only God’s grace that granted that, because I certainly didn’t deserve it.
It gave me a renewed awareness of my depraved state. I can’t even avoid making simple – but seriously consequential—mistakes on my own. Not to mention the outright sin I commit and the sin I hide in my heart that I think I won’t commit but that sneaks out when my guard’s down.
Ultimately I was humbled by the precious love of God and our freedom therein.
The fire scare and other — relatively trivial — circumstances that have played out since then continue to open my eyes to God moving. There are so many circumstances I might have overlooked if not for the uncanny-ness of them that points to nothing less than God’s hand at work: a highly frustrating situation at work that threw my schedule off for weeks but also allowed me to attend my morning Bible Study with no time-crunch, for one. Another is simply the timeliness of all this, coinciding with a God-given desire to delve back into the Scriptures. It has provided the faith I needed to face some challenging truths that I read.
It’s strange, the subtle but striking ways God will grab our attention. But oh, am I grateful for it (and grateful that I am grateful)!
“Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and unfathomable His ways!” – Romans 11:33
“Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?” -Romans 2:4
P.s. Although I’m thrilled to share the triumphs of this story, I hope against hope it doesn’t result in me losing all credibility in the kitchen.