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I Locked My Wife in the Chicken Coop

I’ve striven to love my wife more each day—to show her gentleness and great respect. This is because, as Christians, we are told to love our wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it (Ephesians 5:25). But that hasn’t been evident recently.

After we cleaned out our chicken coop, I came inside, and a few moments later, I heard Sue yelling, “You locked me in!” It was just a case of muscle memory. Every time I come out of the coop, I subconsciously lock the door because our dog (who is part Australian Shepherd) desperately tries to sneak in. If she succeeds, she goes crazy chasing chickens. And they don’t like that.

That minor incident came hard on the heels of me getting Sue a hot water bottle on a cold night. Sometimes, in California, it can get down to 50°F in winter, and so I filled up a hot water bottle and surprised her. About five minutes later, she found that someone hadn’t screwed the top on tightly and that the water bottle was empty.

And that little incident came on the heels of us living for two days in a really cold house—in which we had put on extra clothing to stay warm. Suddenly, I remembered that I had done a Zoom interview at home and had turned the heating off so it wouldn’t make a noise. I’d simply forgotten to turn it back on.

Then, there was the time that I was cooking dinner while she was at the ministry. I had never cooked with oil before, so I put about an inch of the substance in the frying pan, turned the gas stove on, and carefully dropped two pieces of frozen fish into the oil from about six inches above the pan. Some law of nature kicked in and sent the oil up into the air and down onto the flames of the element.

That meant that I got to experience firsthand a mini version of a pillar of fire. It was only about three feet high, but it was still impressive. It was simply a matter of me grabbing the fire extinguisher (which I made sure was always handy when I was cooking) and spraying the fire. It worked, but our kitchen suddenly looked like it was covered in an inch of snow. And then, there was the thick smoke—and Sue was due to get home any minute. I quickly opened the windows and doors to let the smoke out.

A moment later, she came up our driveway, wound down her car window, and said, “Why are the doors and windows open?” She ignored my suggestion that she drive around the block for ten or so minutes.

But that was nothing compared to something that happened a few years earlier—when I was getting an early morning cup of tea for my daughter. Rachel was staying with us while her husband was away, and she’d gone out of the kitchen for a moment. That’s when I leaned over the hot plate to grab the kettle and caught the sleeve of my white bathrobe on fire. I remember hearing a loud “poof.” I heard another “poof” as it went across the back of the robe and then a third as my right sleeve caught on fire. I thought to myself, “Wow, my white bathrobe is on fire!” So, I turned to the fire extinguisher that I always keep in the kitchen, but I saw that the instructions said, “Stand six feet from the fire and aim the nozzle at the base.” I thought, “I’ve got a problem.”

It was then that I took the bathrobe off, threw it on the ground, and heard a huge “poof” as the whole thing burst into flames. That’s when I realized that the makers had soaked it in gasoline to make life more exciting for those who purchase it.

The lesson I learned from that experience is that a man on fire moves rather quickly. All that happened in about half a second. Rachel then walked back into the kitchen and said, “Dad, I was only away for ten seconds, and in that time, you managed to catch fire.”

And so, my wife coming home and finding that I’d nearly burned down our house was nothing unusual. She also wasn’t surprised that two separate women who had read my book 101 of the Dumbest Things People Have Done—of which I am the star—sent her sympathy cards.

Ray Comfort

Ray Comfort is the Founder and CEO of Living Waters, a bestselling author, and has written more than 100 books, including, The Evidence Study Bible. He cohosts the award-winning television program Way of the Master, which airs in 190 countries.

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