Sometimes calamities are a matter of only a fraction of an inch!

Sometimes in this life, little things, even VERY little things, can have BIG consequences. I’ve related previously that our house is surrounded by oak trees; our trees and also our neighbors’ trees, many of which bend over our property. The result is a MASSIVE amount of oak leaves that fall into the yard in October-November-December and must be cleaned up by “moi.” In May-June, a large amount of “catkins” (i.e., tree flowers) fall from the trees. What happens in both circumstances is the roof gutters become completely clogged up and when it rains the downspouts become plugged and the rainwater seeps over the gutters, filling the basement window wells, and then coming in through the windows and flooding into the basement.

I have to be extremely meticulous about keeping our gutters cleaned out during both time periods, otherwise I will end up mopping up the water on our basement floor, not an easy task with all of the stuff we store down there. Praise the Lord for our shop-vac! Despite my determined efforts to keep the gutters free of debris, I’ve had to clean up water on the basement floor at least once per year since we moved in fifteen years ago.

I did a very thorough job of cleaning the catkins out of the gutters this past May-June so when we had a torrential downpour while I was at work a couple of weeks ago, I wasn’t too worried about it. But when I got home, I checked the basement and, sure enough, a good amount of rain water had seeped in and was on the floor. I immediately checked the suspected downspout and it was clear. Huh? So how did that happen? Well, I had a strong suspicion.

A few years ago, we had all of our gutters replaced. There’s a 36 inch strip of gutter situated near the bathroom window and above the basement window where the water had leaked in (see photo #1 above). Ah, I could see the problem!  The distance between the bottom of the gutter and the bottom of the fascia board at point A was 1 inch, while the distance at point B was only 3/4 inch (see photo #2 below). The gutter company had not been careful about how they installed the short strip of gutter. The short gutter piece was slopped the wrong way, towards the house! Anytime there was a really heavy downpour and the gutter filled up, a good amount of water spilled over the wrong-way sloping gutter, down into the basement window well, and into the basement. In this case, just a half-an-inch made a HUGE difference and I had to suffer the consequences.

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So, I got out my trusty tools, repositioned the gutter, and secured it. The space at point A is still 1 inch while the position at point B is now one and 1/4 inches (see photo #3 below). Rainwater coming into the gutter will now flow away from the house instead of towards it.

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Success! I’m grateful to the Lord for helping me to understand what the problem was and how to fix it. As I was thinking about this issue, it struck me that in our spiritual walk with the Lord, there may be sinful behaviors and habits in our life that we think are very small or minor, but that could lead to BIG consequences or even disaster. A little laziness. A small accommodation. A tiny compromise. What “little” sin are we hanging onto that is an idol in our life and has the potential to eventually overtake us?

Take inventory of yourself, brothers and sisters, and see if you have any sinful habits or behaviors that are “sloped the wrong way,” towards our own selfish desires and away from God. We are just weak jars of clay, but praise God for His grace and the Holy Spirit who works through us!

“I considered my ways and turned my feet to Your testimonies.” – Psalm 119:59

“How many are my iniquities and sins? Make known to me my rebellion and my sin.” – Job 13:23

“But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” – 2 Corinthians 4:7