The Dishwasher By Mark P. Fisher
Would God conspire to use a 15-year-old dishwasher and a home warranty company to help me love my wife, Lori, as Christ loves the Church? I think so, and this is my story.
Eighteen months ago, when my wife, Lori, and I bought our house, a home warranty was included. During that first year, we used the warranty to have the dishwasher repaired. When the policy expired after the first year, I decided to renew it for about $400. A few months into the second year of the warranty, the dishwasher broke again, and someone was sent out to fix it. A couple of weeks later, the same thing broke again. This happened another six or seven times.
With five children, two adults, a dog and a cat, you’ll quickly realize that’s a lot of dishes. I was getting more frustrated, upset and discouraged. Finally, I called the warranty company and talked with them for 45 minutes. I asked, “Wouldn’t it be cheaper if you replaced the dishwasher?” They said, “That’s not our policy.” They would send another company out to repair it, again. This went on for another six months. Then, one morning during a meeting that I was leading a thought occurred to me, and I can only assume it was from God. “Mark, why don’t you write down what you are feeling?” So, right then I got a sticky note and I wrote these feelings: Discouraged, upset, taken advantage of and deceived. I put the note aside and finished the meeting. Later, I called Lori and told her that the weirdest thing happened to me regarding the dishwasher. She quickly said, “Would you please just go out and buy a dishwasher?” “No,” I said jokingly, “not on principle.”
I went on to explain to her what had dawned on me — I felt after my many calls to the warranty company that I had been deceived and taken advantage of. I paused, asking her, “Have I ever made you feel like that?” She asked, “Why?” I responded, “Because I’m watching God provide me with an illustration from life of how I’ve affected you, because He wants to teach me how I should care for you and be more like Christ.” She answered me, “Most of our marriage I have felt deceived and taken advantage of.” Ouch, I thought. Initially for me, but slowly I began to realize no, ouch for Lori. She married me imagining what she was getting, but her vision did not materialize. Just like that home warranty I bought. Promises, promises…but when it’s time to deliver — falling short.
I told Lori that I thought God was allowing me to experience these emotions and I didn’t like how they felt, and I didn’t ever want to make her feel like that again. At that point I asked Lori, “Are there things that I’ve promised you that I haven’t delivered, just like the warranty company?”
She nodded yes saying, “Oh, many times!” After I regained my breath, I told her that I wanted to make a list of those things. However, I still didn’t make a list right away. It probably took me a week to get to it. Finally, one morning we were having coffee together and God reminded me about the list. “Hey, Hon,” I said sheepishly, “let’s make that list I asked you about. What are some of the things I haven’t done that I said I would do?”
So, she began. It was no small list. I had to use both sides of the paper. I’m embarrassed to admit that one of the top things she put down was to pray with her every day. I said to myself, “I’m gonna do that,” but concealed my inner commitment so as not to further disappoint her if I failed. When she finished carefully responding to my question, she looked at me and immediately I could tell she was encouraged and felt appreciated and cared for.
Please do not think that what I am about to tell you is guaranteed to happen to you. But, about 45 minutes later, the phone rang. “Hello, Mr. Fisher, this is the warranty company. We have decided to replace your dishwasher.” “Really?” I said. “That’s great!” I hung up the phone in disbelief. Then it hit me. Our patient, loving God spent eight months trying to teach me how I affect my wife, how important promises are, and what it feels like to be disappointed and deceived.
To think I could have learned these lessons so much earlier if I had been tuned in to God’s ways and how He uses every circumstance in my life to conform me to the image of His Son. (Romans 8:28-29) Instead, He chose to use a dishwasher and an unknowing warranty company to help me love, and better understand, my wife. Crazy stuff! If only I could see that clearly every time.