“…through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:2 (NIV)
As stated in previous blogs, January 5, 2015 began a new trial/challenge/journey for my family. However, looking back, I now think it might have been the beginning of the conclusion of a trial, which began in June 2013. I found out that day I would be losing my income effective February1st.
January 23rd, eight days before I officially became unemployed, started out ordinary. I had to run a few errands and since our kids were home, I asked my daughter if she wanted to come along. My husband had come home from work early and stayed home with our boys. For an unknown reason, I decided to take his car instead of the one I typically drive.
Everything went smoothly until we pulled into Culver’s to take advantage of five free scoops of ice cream for dessert. I heard what sounded like a hot rod and immediately felt sorry for the car in front of us, thinking they had lost their muffler or something. After returning with our ice cream, I started our car and realized within seconds I was the driver to feel sorry for. The noises coming out of our car were horrible! To make matters worse, for reasons I didn’t realize, I couldn’t drive above 20 MPH. There was no “umph” to the engine (or maybe I was just mortified that the harder I pushed on the gas the more people stared).
I called my husband and when he answered, lowered my window and said, “Do you hear that?” to which I replied, “That’s Us!” After reassuring me it was safe to drive 5 miles per hour home, I put on my hazards and, completely embarrassed, proceeded to make the drivers in 5 PM Friday afternoon rush hour traffic crazy with my slow speed and unbelievably ear shattering decibels.
Knowing we needed the car fixed by Monday morning, we began calling around to see who could look at it. The repair shop we talked to informed us we would need to have it towed in due to where the muffler disconnected if we didn’t want to risk ruining the engine. We had towing service through AAA so that was free, and they even delivered the car to the shop without us having to be present. Saturday we stopped by the shop to find out the verdict. I’d been silently hoping for a repair bill less than $300. The car is 15 years old so I was prepared for them to say it needed a complete overhaul, not just the muffler repaired. I was pleasantly surprised to find out the repair would be $165, almost half of that imaginary cutoff price in my comfort zone. And, it would be ready in two hours.
I had started thanking God for the blessings on Friday afternoon. My first celebration was that my husband came home early and I was prompted to take his car. He could have been driving to work on the highway and we could have ruined the engine due to the filtering system being disconnected. My second praise was that we had towing through AAA so it cost us nothing to get the car safely to the repair shop, and we didn’t even have to spend our evening driving back and forth. It was safely delivered and we had a nice, quiet evening. Third, the cost was less than the number God had put in my mind the night before that wouldn’t be a hardship with my pending reduced income in eight days. When we found out the price was $165, I jokingly said to God, “It would’ve been something if You had the price be half of the number You gave me.” Later Saturday night my husband casually remarked how we were supposed to pay $165, but “it turned out to be $150, including tax.” My response? “Wow – thank You, God!” Talk about caring down to the last detail. My biggest thank you? I had peace the entire time. Normally I worry about finances, worry about schedules, worry….worry….worry. I had complete peace this time. While I wasn’t happy about having to repair our car, I had complete peace that could only come from God. And it felt good!
This incident showed me two important things. Trials are going to happen in life. They just are. When they do we have two choices: Celebrate (not for the trials but while in the trials) or complain. I’ve done enough complaining in my life. I choose to celebrate. The more I celebrate, the easier it is to turn to celebrating as my default when trials/challenges arise. The second truth that was reinforced to me was this: God cares about the tiny details in our life as well as the huge life-changing events. He cared about how our family responded to this particular event and He cares about all the little details in between.
God showed me through an ordinary Friday night that He will provide…not just a new muffler but a new job. He’s got this…and I don’t have to worry in the process. However, I could have done without the character building mortifying drive home. Oh well, I’m glad the God I serve has a sense of humor!
© Cheri Swalwell 2015