When we allow sin and weakness to lurk in our hearts, they will sooner or later make their presence known.

If you’re looking for peace, you might want to think twice about buying a rental property. I purchased a lovely (or so I thought) piece of real estate a few years ago. I was certain it would be a good investment. But there was one problem—my beautifully decorated, upscale condo smelled. The odor would come and go, and it was hard to pin down exactly where the smell was coming from. I hired plumbers to check out P-traps and toilet seals, furnace repair technicians to look for dead animals or improperly installed equipment. At one point, I was certain I had fixed the problem only to discover that the smell had returned full force. No amount of household deodorizer could cover it.

Everything visible had been checked. So the problem, I reasoned, must be lurking behind walls or beneath the floor. My youngest daughter suggested with a hint of a smile that perhaps a bad fairy was hiding somewhere, cutting wind. Hmmm . . . I hadn’t thought of that. Finally a plumber sent smoke bombs through the pipes and, lo and behold, smoke started billowing from the walls of the closet in the utility room. When the closet was ripped out, the plumber found the culprit—a pipe that had been improperly installed. Amazingly, it had escaped the notice of the builder and the city inspectors who signed off on the new construction. For four years it lay hidden behind the walls, spreading a noxious smell through the vents.

What’s the point of this smelly story? Simply that hidden problems can steal our peace. When we allow sin and weakness to lurk in our hearts, they will sooner or later make their presence known. It’s far better to deal with them openly and honestly. Otherwise, the Lord may need to lob a few smoke bombs our way in order to reveal the source of the problem so we can finally face it with his grace.




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