God’s Sovereignty & My Sanity

The Story:

Yesterday was a doozy of a day. I was on the road putting a lot of miles on my ’93 Ford Taurus. Doctor’s visits, tax accountant appointment, and of course driving into the office. My day was packed with activity. During the mid-afternoon, my wife called and explained that our 2000 Ford Windstar had refused to start, and she was at the public library. She asked if I could pick up the kids from school. I looked at the clock. I had just enough time to leave the office, drive the 20 minutes to the elementary school and be in the line of parents to pick up their children. I started out, leaving my office up and running – just locking the door. I was about halfway to town, sitting at the stop light, which, turning green, gave me the opportunity to keep on making good time to pick up the kiddos. When I put my foot to the accelerator, my car exploded. Well, not totally, but it made a significant sound and all of a sudden it was as if I was racing on one of the local tracks. My car was so loud and shuddering that I knew something was significantly wrong. I decided to drive the Taurus home and park it, and walk to the school to get the kids. We live almost across the street from the school, so this was no problem. The problem became more clear to me as I was walking down the road.

The Vehicles:

We have 3 vehicles: 93 Ford Taurus, 93 Ford full-size van, and a 2000 Ford Windstar.

1993 Ford Van:

The 93 full-size van was purchase near the end of last year as we realized the need to a bit more space with our family and also the capability to shuttle teens around. We purchased it from a small local dealer and had prayed about the purchase. Shortly after we got the van, the dealer went out of business. Shortly after he went out of business, the van decided not to run. I have it in my garage, and dealing with my Spinal Fusion surgery in October, just felt like leaving it there because we have two other running cars. Or…we did.

1993 Ford Taurus

This car has been faithful in it’s duties for a long time. I received it from my mother, buying it from her after my father passed away. She gave me a great deal and I needed a dependable car for my ministry. That has been going on 7 years ago and I have put a lot of miles on it. The significant sound I heard coming from under the hood turned out to be a sparkplug missing. I blew a sparkplug clean out of the engine! I’ve never done that before, and have never heard of it before – but am finding out that it can be fairly common. It was an easy fix too. I simply put a new plug in and away we went.

2000 Ford Windstar

This van is special in a lot of ways. I was given it by the church when I first started as pastor. We joke a lot about the van because it is a vehicle that has caused some interesting moments when and where it has “died”. We will roll over 250,000 miles on this van this year. A quarter of a million miles! I never would have imagined getting that from the “gift that keeps on giving”. I still don’t know what the issue is with it. I had to have it towed from the library to a local shop to be diagnosed and repaired. I simply could not get it running at all.

God’s Sovereignty & How it May All Make Sense:

So, we have three vehicles, one running. Today, due to the necessity of getting the van towed, etc, I was late getting to the office. As I was driving down Armstrong Road, I noticed an older gentleman hitchhiking. I pulled over to give him a ride and we began to talk. He recognized my car because our church sits on Armstrong Rd and I often park in front. He had ridden his bike by the church many times. He was coming from the hospital in Warsaw, about 11 miles away, and only had about another mile or so to go before getting home.

What we talked about in that short period of time was his current circumstances, his life story that brought him to that point, and the possibility of interacting with him in the future. As I drove from his home I couldn’t help but think that this was a divine appointment. I could look back and see how God arranged my morning so that I would be in that exact moment to speak with this man that God had divinely placed in my path.

Last night I was frustrated and questioning God. I’ll be honest, pastors do that sometimes. We’re learning the same lessons that we preach to others. I have trouble at times being content in my situation. While we are “wealthy” in the fact that we have three vehicles, when they don’t run…all at the same time…I become very angry. God is teaching me about the idols of my heart. He is teaching me about contentment. I can say with Paul that I am learning to be content. I am also learning to not question God in anger. Today affirmed to me that all things really do work together for good. There is always a purpose in pain, struggle, schedule mishaps, and any other situation in life.

So, here’s the conclusion to the whole of this matter:Trust God.

  • Trust God for the finances and wisdom on auto repair.
  • Trust God that what he calls you to do (the obligations of this life even) that he will make the way for you to accomplish it. It may not be how you think it should be, but you will accomplish what he has planned for you to accomplish.
  • Look also for opportunities that you may not have had outside of the ‘inconvenience” of life. God is continually working opportunities to glorify him in your life. Acknowledge that they are there and praise the Lord for what he is doing.

I am a work in progress. Just when I think I can start to do life on my own, God reminds me to depend on him always. And for that I am thankful.

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