Inches and Seconds by Michael Lee Joshua

April 9, 2011
by Michael Lee Joshua

Life is all about zigs and zags – decisions – or the lack of them. These are the things that take our lives from Point A to Point B. 

This week a contractor brought that to mind for me. 

Drilling into the wall, he hit a sprinkler pipe and we had a mess. Water is not very forgiving. It goes wherever it wants – and in our case, it sprayed on the upstairs floor and down into the basement. All over the furnaces, boxes of files – my normal day became one of moving boxes, file cabinets and discussing the damage with contractors and insurance adjusters. 

Once the wall was opened – there it was – an inch one way or the other, right or left, and we would have not even realized that we had ‘dodged a bullet.’ But his drill bit turned directly into the center of the PVC pipe. And there we were – dealing with a crisis of inches.

It was a crisis of inches that compelled me to go into the office on a Saturday.  As the newly hired General Manager, it fell to me to meet the contractors so they could measure the level of moisture still remaining in the floor, walls and basement ceiling two days after the error was made. A crisis of inches that had me looking all over the office for the controller for the beeping motion detectors that announced my arrival on a weekend, detectors which I did not even know existed.

The direction of our lives is determined by inches and seconds. The significance of subtleties that we might not even recognize until months or even years later weave into and out of our lives with surgical precision. We don’t even feel the cut until the healing begins.

You know what I mean:

The second that you said what you wish you hadn’t – but it’s too late to take it back. 

The step that you miscalculated by an inch that sent you sprawling face first right to the floor. 

I have experienced small missteps that charted the course for my life, many of them. 


Words that once uttered changed someone else’s self-perception in a negative way – to a degree that I may never comprehend. One second, one word – spoken with disregard…

The tongue is so hard to tame.

Inches – just a few inches – between you and the friend that could use a pat on the back or a hug – instead of distance.  Inches that come between your car and the next one – stop too soon – stop too late – it doesn’t matter, two objects cannot occupy the same space at the same time.

So it is with us. If you occupy your heart, can Christ direct you? Move over, let Him fill up that space. 

We want to be in control – but true freedom comes in the seconds and inches – zigs and zags that He allows to glorify Him.

A turn in the road might be exactly what He needs us to experience. Let the water flow – It is living water, you know. 

He knows where the bends should be. 

Our sprinkler pipe is repaired – the water flows again – but it does look just a little – well – different now.



























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