It was late Friday afternoon outside Detroit, Michigan. We were in stop-n-go traffic on I-275 around the city.
David’s peripheral vision saw something in the rear-view mirror approaching fast, and he yelled “Hold on!” All of a sudden we felt a hard hit from behind. Our little Honda CRV was slammed from behind. They launched us up into the truck in front of us and made that truck run into the truck ahead of it.
Confused, but safe in tight seatbelts, we were ok. We did all the things that needed to be done, and in the end, our little brown companion, nicknamed “Coffee,” was deemed totaled.
So here was a great opportunity for us to practice what we preach. We loved that little Honda. She was paid off. David had diligently serviced and repaired her to last for 350,000 miles. She served us well for eight years and was waiting for us whenever we returned to the States. But she belonged to the Lord though, and when He saw fit that her job was over, that had to be ok.
Why Is It So Hard?
When something happens that is not what we had expected, there comes an opportunity to readjust our expectations. We profess that we have left everything in His hands, and that we belong to Him. But when loss actually happens, it still is hard. Why?
It feels like it was not right. It feels like He must have not noticed or protected. We know from scripture that is a lie. He controls and is aware of all things. He even knows the number of hairs on my head (Matt. 10:30).
Adjusting my expectations to what is evidently His different sovereign design is part of “renewing” my mind, and doing so enables me to discern His good and acceptable and perfect will for me (Rom. 12:2).
Plugging In Th(i)nkful
As the moments passed there on I-275, and we got a clearer picture of what God had for us on that Friday afternoon, we had the chance to put th(i)nkfulness into practice. Right emotions would follow right thinking.
We made phone calls to friends nearby and were overwhelmed with how God provided for us. We could see His fingerprints, and so David and I began to list what was good and what would have been much worse but didn’t happen:
- I was able to communicate with Ann Magee and she and her husband (a pastor near Detroit) were so kind to drive a good distance to pick us up
- The accident happened near someone we knew and not six hours away from any contacts, like where we had been the evening before
- We walked away from an accident that could have demanded our lives or have left us handicapped in various ways
- We weren’t at fault and didn’t have to feel badly
- Though it made some funny noises, we were able to drive our car out of the way and up to the next exit to a safe place
- People all over began praying for us; we felt God’s supernatural peace as we rested all things with Him and were thankful (Phil.4:6-7)
- We did not have grandchildren in the back where they could have been hurt
- Stephen Magee, a Physical Therapist Doctor, gave us good advice on how to work through whiplash
- We were able to see how quickly life can change unexpectedly; the reality of every day being a gift was etched more deeply into our mind.
- Don and Ann were so gracious to let us borrow one of their cars to complete our long trip reporting to churches and supporters
- God allowed this accident to happen at the end of our State-side time so we were able to finish our trip up with no further need for a car before heading back to SA
Have The Renew Plan Ready
When opportunities arise that were not expected, we have to have our ‘renewing our mind’ plan ready to put into action. God’s Word is the agent of renewing correctly. We are allowed to pour out our hearts to the Lord (Psalm 62:8) and yet He asks that we are thankful in every circumstance (I Thessalonians 5:18).
Having a plan ready with truth-anchors could prove very helpful indeed.
- I Corinthians 10:13 promises that God has checked my test. He is faithful, and with me, and will give me a way of escape as I call out to Him. My circumstances may not change, but the way I see them can.
- Romans 8:28 promises that God is using all things to conform me to His Son. The happenings of my day are not random. He is using them to make me like Jesus as I respond like Christ would.
- Hebrew 13:5b-6 promises that the Lord is with me and will not forsake. He is my Helper.
- Philippians 4:13 promises that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.
- I am loved by my Creator even if He allows pain in my life (Psalm 119:71).
God is God and I am not.
He is completely trustworthy and does things well. I may not agree with or understand His ways, but I can trust His character and wait on Him to give me direction for each step forward.
May you be able to discern that good and acceptable and perfect (GAP) will of God in whatever twists and turns He has for you!