The Furnace

Today was very gloomy with thick clouds and mist so that the light never brightened above twilight. With no snow and bare trees it felt more like November than December. But I’m glad that November is gone because it was a tough month. It was the worst of months and the best of months. At least, I think it was the worst and best month for us this year. I’ve had worse worst months, such as when our son was diagnosed with cancer.

Our primary heating source is a geothermal furnace which draws up heat and air-conditioning from the earth. Our secondary heating source is propane. The propane furnace automatically kicks in when the outside temperature falls below 20 degrees. EJ noticed that the propane was turning on well above 20 degrees. It’s much cheaper to run the geothermal furnace than propane so in early November he called the repairman. He came out, diagnosed the problem, and then ordered the part, which arrived several day later.

On the day the repairman arrived to fix the unit, the weather was very nice–unseasonably warm and sunny. This is important because the geothermal unit sits outside. I’m not sure I’m understanding or explaining this correctly, but apparently, in order to replace the part, gas had to be released/emptied, the new part installed, and then the unit refilled with gas. This can only be done on a warm and sunny day because it would be VERY BAD if moisture got into the unit. Moisture would quickly corrode all the pipes, tubes, or whatever all the way into the house. But this was no problem on that day because the weather was perfect. Except the repairman said he “made a rookie mistake” and fried the part. He sealed up the unit to keep it safe until he could order and return with a new part.

The repairman checked the forecast, saw that there would be a nice day in a week or two, and scheduled to return that day. He said he would keep his schedule clear for us on that day. Waiting for that day was stressful because we live in Michigan, and eventually winter will arrive. In fact, we’ve had warmer temperatures and not much snow so far, but every day that passed increased the likelihood of winter cold and snow arriving. Once winter arrived, we’d have to wait until Spring to get the furnace repaired. With inflation pushing prices higher and higher, I didn’t know how we could afford to heat our house with propane alone all winter. With rumors of a train strike causing supply issues, we weren’t even sure that there would be propane available. So I anxiously waited for THE DAY that the furnace would get repaired.

But on that morning, the repairman canceled saying that day was not adequate enough. In fact, when we didn’t hear from him by mid-morning, EJ called him and found out from his secretary that he was out on another call. This on the day the repairman said he’d reserve for us. Finally, he called back and said that the weather wasn’t adequate enough. He checked the forecast and said that it looked as if the weather would be adequate a week later so we scheduled him to come there. This was the week after Thanksgiving. Almost December.

I struggled with anxiety and prayed many prayers for God’s help.

On the morning that the repairman was scheduled to fix our furnace, he called to cancel, saying that the weather wasn’t adequate. It was supposed to rain in the early afternoon. In fact, he said he couldn’t fix the furnace until Spring. I had half expected it.

However, I had restrengthened my faith so when EJ told me what the repairman said, I was able to say, “Well, God knows we need heat, He knows what is happening in the world, and He knows our finances so we will just trust that He will take care of us.”

A few minutes later I glanced out of the window and saw the repairman’s red van driving up the driveway. I rubbed my eyes, wondering if I was hallucinating, but when I looked again, I still saw him. When EJ went out to talk to him, he said that he had checked the forecast again and the forecast had changed so it wasn’t supposed to rain until later in the day. He believed he had time to fix the furnace so he drove out.

And fix it he did.

And we have lovely heat.

And I was reminded that…

“…Your Father knows what you need before you ask him. (Matt 6:8)

2 Comments on “The Furnace

  1. I’m glad you were able to get the furnace finally fixed up. It’s stressful to have a problem like that crop up at such an inopportune time and yet sometimes it seems like that’s when things happen the most, when we can least afford them. I hope you r son is doing well, 100% healthy and a good peace of mind, I had the same diagnosis 25 years ago and it has been smooth sailing since but for some years after it was hard to take a long view about what could happen again.


    • I am glad you have remained cancer-free. Our son was diagnosed in 2013 when he was 18 years old. He’s healthy. You are correct in that after a traumatic experience such as cancer happens, it shakes your world and there is always the apprehension that it could happen again. I think that it brings a feeling of vulnerability and you realize that bad things can/do happen.


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