We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love. Romans 5:3-5 (NLT)

It’s laundry day and piles of clothes are sorted on the floor of the laundry room. You know the process — load and start the washer, move wet clothes to dryer, fold and put away when dry. Easy peasy. Except when you push the button on the dryer and nothing happens. In the middle of all the piles to do. With wet clothes waiting. Not happy.

Our 10-year-old washer and dryer had begun to have problems and I repaired the washer about six weeks ago. I didn’t think about the planned obsolescence of these appliances at the time, but decided to not spend any more money on something with potential problems. Fortunately, it was the week of Black Friday and I found a good deal on both, with delivery in a week.

The delivery men were right on time. Old ones out and new ones installed — all ready to go. Again, I started the process. The washing part completed, I dumped the the wet clothes into the dryer. When the bell rang, the clothes were still very wet. I reread the instructions and restarted the cycle, however, they were still not dry. I called the delivery guy who drove back and reset the dryer. It’s a gas dryer and somehow the gas was not coming on when I started the cycle. He fiddled with something and then when I pushed the button, you could hear it start up and the gas begin to flow. Great and thank you very much.

But the next load had the same problem — no gas, no heat. Sigh. The good news is that a new dryer will be delivered tomorrow.

So what does this have to do with our verses for today? Life doesn’t always turn out the way we think or expect it to be. Jobs, health, marriages, friendships, church, elections offer unknown and unexpected challenges — often at the most inopportune moment. We have the choice to fall apart and get angry and frustrated or step back, pause, and pray. Without the work of the Holy Spirit in my life, much like the gas in my dryer, my efforts to “fix” things will fail. These very same trials have the opportunity to develop endurance, which leads to strength of character, resulting in hope.

I’m so grateful that I don’t have to navigate the storms of life alone. I know that I won’t encounter a busy signal or, worse yet, silence when I go to God in those challenging times. He listens and is faithful to be by my side and within me by the power of the His Spirit.

I didn’t trust that another gas dryer would work properly so I ordered an electric one. But I never have to worry that the power of the Holy Spirit will fail. He is dependable, available, and always has just what I need.