How can God be a contrarian?

It occurs to me that as Creator and Law-giver, God must believe in the normal way of things.

But I’m also convinced he has a great sense of humor.Why else would it be that things so often seem designed to confuse us?

We’ve just finished dealing with the aftermath of a case of household misdirection.

When we moved into our house in 2004, neighbors told us we had unusually good water pressure in this subdivision. Gastonia being a much downsized former textile center, the local water system has lots of unused capacity.

We didn’t see much evidence of it. I kept changing out shower heads trying to get a decent shower, but the flow always seemed anemic. It took longer to fill our spaghetti pot than it did in our previous house, which had notoriously low water pressure. We just didn’t seem to get the promised enhanced flow at the new place.

There was one exception: the spigot out front blew up a hose and a hose-end sprayer I was using to put out liquid fertilizer. Washing a car there was like using a pressure washer.

Having lots of other fish to fry, we shrugged it off.

Oh, we did notice some strange happenings. For one, the ice maker in our new refrigerator seemed haunted. It creaked and popped 24 hours a day, sometimes waking me at night with an unearthly groan.

“Cheap imported parts,” I told myself.

I had to rebuild every one of the three toilets in the house in a two-year span, and one of them twice.

“Cheap imported parts,” I told myself, as I drove off to the big box store to buy another repair kit.

Our water heater sprung a leak about two years ago (predictably, on the Sunday before Christmas Eve–another example of God’s contrarian sense of humor). We finally found a plumber to install a new one on Christmas Eve. A few days later, I called him back to look at a small drip from one of the mysterious devices on the water pipe. He twisted a set screw and said the thing would eventually go bad, but it would work for now. If he told me what it was, I didn’t catch the explanation.

About a month ago, I noticed water on the garage floor. Upon investigation, I found water all around the corner where our water heater lives. This time, I called a different plumber. The first thing he did was put a pressure gauge on our system, something I don’t think the other guy did.

He said, “I can’t tell you how much pressure is on your system, because the gauge only goes to 180 psi. The reading is off the scale.”

It turns out that “thing” is a pressure control unit, and it had been bad for some time, possibly from the time it was installed. Whenever we turned on a faucet, the entire city reservoir tried to squeeze through our pipes unimpeded.

The pressure had forced a hole into one of our pipes, resulting in the leak. It had also overwhelmed every valve (except the one on the front outdoor spigot) to the extent that LESS water could get through, resulting in apparently low water pressure.

Our ice maker was groaning under a strain at least twice its maximum design limit. Our toilets leaked because they couldn’t handle the pressure.

I was skeptical at first that too much water pressure could result in lower water pressure, but when a new pressure control device was installed, the flow at every faucet and shower head went way up. The ice maker stopped groaning and clicking.

I know God’s getting a chuckle out of this.


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