The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. John 1:5
A couple of years ago I posted the beginning of a story of a very trying drive from Louisville, KY, to Manistee, MI – or as my husband Marty called it, “the road trip from hell.” Included in the package were heavy rains, holiday traffic, long waits because of accidents and construction, and finally, a flat tire, and a car packed to the gills that had to be unpacked to get to the spare – all after having had just four hours’ sleep the night before, with a dog that loudly refused to let me nap at the “rest stops.”
Although it took me twelve hours to make a trip that should have taken eight, there was one detail that was a definite “God moment.” It was tucked into the story, much as the moment itself was tucked into a steady stream of frustration, and I was surprised that for the most part, virtually all of the many people who saw the post missed it. Every response I got for the first 24 hours was one of mutual griping about “Murphy’s Law” and well-meaning people expressing their sympathy. This got me thinking… Do we usually get so focused on all the negatives that we miss those little moments of awesomeness that God drops into our lives? Well, I almost did. Here’s “the rest of the story,” which I posted the next day:
When I was sitting in my car with the flat tire in a parking lot outside a bar and grill in the rain, waiting for AAA to call me back and texting Marty to keep him updated on what was happening – or rather what was NOT happening – I became aware that I had been joined by a very BAD attitude. I was also reminded that I had asked God to do something with me that day, as I didn’t want to be just heading for another vacation. (Vacations are pleasant, but, shall we say, not always an adventure?) I realized I was in the middle of an adventure, and if I didn’t lose the attitude I might miss a “divine appointment” of some kind. So I consciously ditched the attitude, thanked God (out loud) for whatever He was going to do, and went inside to wait.
There was a couple sitting waiting, too, and I eventually became aware that they were not waiting for a table but for help with THEIR car. They had locked their keys inside it – in the same place I had got the flat. Hmmm… I also noticed that the husband was wearing a t-shirt with an intriguing message on it, followed by a scripture reference, so I asked him about it. What ensued was a very enjoyable (exciting) conversation with the two of them about what was going on in our lives and how awesome God is. I ended up very glad I had met them, especially when the couple that came to get their car open said they were available to change my tire, too.
I decided 90 minutes was enough to wait for a response from AAA, so I employed this couple. While he changed the tire, she did the paperwork, and we got into a conversation about other things. Long story short, she is an avid reader and left with a copy of my first novel, Counselor. I may never know the results, but I’m happier believing that all that was supposed to happen than I would have been sitting in my car stewing over things I had no control over.
Next time you’re stranded where you don’t want to be, with inconveniences piling up and frustration building into the attitude from hell, STOP. PRAY. Take a deep breath, and look around you. God is up to something. (And I’d love to hear what happens!)
(By the way, that “God Moment” that almost everyone missed at my first telling of the story came at about 1:30 A.M., when I was about thirty minutes from my final destination. The sleep deprivation, coupled with this unexpectedly trying twelve-hour solo drive was taking its toll, and even singing along to lively music at top volume was beginning to lose its effect. At one point I felt what seemed like a hand on my shoulder giving me a gentle shake, and my head jerked up, as I realized with a start that I had been dozing off. That final surge of adrenaline was enough to get me the rest of the way home. (Disclaimer: I do NOT recommend taking a long road trip alone and sleep deprived!)
Prayer: Lord, give us Your perspective, even when it seems to be buried in the negativity around us. Rather than being “under the circumstances,” help us to rise above them, in Your name, and for Your glory. Amen.