It can be especially difficult to recognize the good in times of troubles and suffering. It is a natural reaction in these times that we often focus on the bad and what is going wrong as opposed to being thankful for all of our blessings. Sometimes we get so down on ourselves and our circumstances that we fall into despair. God warns us against this and frequently reminds his followers to not fear. In times of troubles and suffering I try to remember the following biblical passage: “ We know that all things work for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose. ” (Romans 8:28). I encountered many difficulties and troubles yesterday and I struggled to stay positive, but I was comforted by a number of blessings.
An account of my day:
So yesterday morning I got a text message from my wife that she had failed the 3 hour gestational diabetes test. From my understanding, this is most likely just a temporary condition while she is pregnant, but it will require her to be on a restrictive diet and probably include more exercise routines. My wife was understandably upset with this news, and when my wife is upset naturally I am upset as well.
Nothing eventful happened at work and I left at my normal time. My drive home was no different than usual until I thought I heard a weird noise. I turned off my radio and I no longer heard the noise, so I assumed it was nothing. Then I started to smell an odor that I believed to be coolant. Uh oh! I had just taken the car to our mechanic to fix a problem with leaking coolant so surely that could not be the problem. Then I noticed that my temperature gauge was spiking. Then I noticed that smoke was coming out of my front hood. Ok, now I knew I had some big trouble. I was able to pull into a parking lot at a city park. By the time I was parked, my car was heavily smoking. Well this is great I thought!
I called my wife to let her know what happened. She said she would call her dad and see if he’d be able to pick me up. I grabbed my car handbook for some instructions. It said not to open the hood while the steam was still coming out because the engine is very hot and could cause burns. I waited 5 to 10 minutes then opened up the hood to see the damage. I know very little about cars, but even I was able to see that there was a leak of fluid. I just needed to figure out what I needed to do to get the car home. As I was standing there pondering my next course of action, a man came up to me and asked if I needed any help. He said he was no mechanic, but that he had worked on his cars for years and might be of some assistance. We discovered that the radiator had no water at all, but we did not see any leaks. He found a bottle in the garbage and filled it with water. There happened to be a water fountain right there near the parking lot. He filled it up 4 or 5 times and poured it in the radiator. He asked me to start my engine and when it appeared that it was cooled down and that I’d be able to make it home, I thanked him and he was on his way to finish his run. I know that I messed up his exercise as he was timing himself. I offered him a $5 because that’s all the cash I had on me, but he refused. He said for me to say hi to a veteran next time I saw one.
I was relieved to be back in my car driving home; at least for a minute. Not long after I pulled back onto the busy highway, I noticed smoke coming out of my engine again. Really? I thought for sure that I’d be good at least until I got home! It was a parking lot on the highway and I was stopped with the smoke really coming out heavy. I was able to pull into a shopping center parking lot. I called my wife again and she said her dad would pick me up. This was not a good evening. I was wanting to get home early and maybe even do something nice for my wife, who had a very difficult day.
My wife’s dad was able to meet me sometime around 6:30 and took me back home. I ate a quick dinner, ran an errand for Shelly at the grocery store in our other vehicle, got back home and got the trash together to be taken out, and then put Julie to sleep. I was exhausted, but my night was just beginning.
Our mechanic was coming over to pick me up and take me back out to the car. He arrived as soon as Julie was down for bed. We got some bottles of water and were on our way back out to my car which I left in the parking lot about 15 minutes away from home. The car was still there and when the mechanic started to put water in the radiator, he noticed that there was another hose that was busted and was the cause of the leak (he had replaced one of the other hoses a week ago but the one that was busted now was not leaking when he looked at it). Now we know what the problem was at least. He said that he would drive my car back to his place and I would drive his car. He would then take me back to my place before returning back home. Sounded like a plan. He had driven cars that had overheated before so I felt more comfortable with him driving my car.
I led the way because I told him that I knew a faster way to get to his house from where we were. Everything was fine until I notice him flashing the bright lights. He had to pull over into a gas station. When I turned around and parked next to him, I noticed it was smoking bad. Well, maybe this won’t be so easy after all. We went inside the gas station and filled our bottles with water. Once we filled it enough we both thought we’d be able to make it home as we were less than 10 minutes away. I decided to follow him though just in case.
We pulled up to the stop light in front of an elementary school near my place and when the light turned green, he didn’t go. Uh oh! A car behind us couldn’t wait and went around us. What is going on now? I later learned that he was concerned that an engine part might get wet and that would shut down the engine completely. He ended up being able to move… through a red light. I didn’t know if I should follow, but I knew where he was going so I waited for the green light.
He decided he couldn’t make it home so we stopped at one more gas station. We did the same routine and were ready to go for the final stretch. We were only a couple minutes away now. I started his car back up and was ready to follow him, but now my car (the one he is driving) wouldn’t start up. Oh wonderful! After a couple minutes he was able to get it moving and I followed him the rest of the way to his house. I got back home around 10PM; exhausted. What a crazy night and a terrible day! And then I thought, you know what – things could be a lot worse.
Why I am so blessed and thankful:
First and foremost I am blessed and thankful that God is all good and merciful. Despite my sinfulness he still loves me, and if I am truly sorry for my sins he will forgive me. I am so blessed and thankful for my family. My wife is wonderful, my little girl is an angel, my son who has yet to be born gives me great hope. My extended family and Shelly’s family are really spectacular. In this case, Shelly’s dad was generous in picking me up when I could not go anywhere with my car in its condition. Shelly’s mom was helpful in dinner preparation and cleanup at the house. I am thankful for our mechanic, who worked all day and then took the time to pick me up and bring my car back to his place. He remained patient and calm throughout the night and was actually apologizing to me at one point. I am thankful for the Good Samaritan who interrupted his run to help me a stranger. He taught me some things about how my car works and could not have been any more helpful or nice. I am thankful that I was able to pull off the main road and find a parking spot for my car when it was overheating. Not only was I able to find a spot, but one where there was a water fountain and a man willing and able to help me. I am blessed to be able to afford a car let alone two vehicles. Many people are out of work or have to find other means of transportation to get to work if they do have a job. I had a phone with me so I was able to communicate to the people I needed to from the convenience of my car. We were able to get the car to my mechanic's house without having to get a tow truck, and it appears that my car is fixable. I came home to a cooked meal and a family that loves me. I could continue on forever about all of my blessings. All these blessings occurred on a day when I had so many difficulties and stress. I often take these blessings for granted. Sometimes it takes a significant event for us to better appreciate our blessings and to thank God for all he has done and continues to do for us. Yesterday, I had a moment of clarity. Life is good. Praise God!
I pray that we always turn to God in good times and in bad. May we recognize the goodness in others rather than focus on their faults, and may we see the goodness in every situation as opposed to the negative. May we never fear, and trust in God that if we believe in Him all things will work together for good. We have a great, loving and merciful God. Let us rejoice and be glad!