Thursday, July 19, 2012

Today's Encouragement

"Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."  Isaiah 41:10

I love, love, love reading verses like this from my Bible.  Sometimes, it becomes clearly obvious that God knows what you are going through, and He sends little reminders- such as bringing a great verse to mind.  All too often when we go through a rough patch it can be so easy to just withdraw and struggle through quietly.  but verses like this are such a great reminder- they fill the spirit with encouragement instantly.  I mean, just read it!  Try reading it aloud- even if you're not going through anything, don't you just fill something embolden within your spirit?  I sure do.

This past Saturday was, quite honestly, a rough day for me.  That was the day we returned home from our camping vacation,and on the way home we managed to get a flat tire on our van.  Andy did an amazing job replacing the flat with a spare and getting us home safely, but that whole time all I could think about was how Andy just took a week off of work, and now we needed four new tires for my van.  It's all-wheel drive, so you're not supposed to just replace one- all four need to be done.  I can't begin to say how much that is not in the budget right now.  And then, as if there could be a cap to an already gloomy day, we arrived home and discovered our Internet not working.  You know, when you're away from home for a week, it's nice to come home and go through the e-mails, to see if you missed anything important.  It would be a few days before a technician could come figure out our problem, so we just had to deal.  When I crawled into bed Saturday night, in addition to being exhausted from all the packing and unpacking that had to be done, I was feeling down because of the long day and the issues.

And then Sunday we got up and got ready for church.  It's been over two weeks since we've been there and I was really looking forward to being back with my church family.  There was still this bit of gloominess hanging on, but it wasn't going to keep me from church, that's for sure.  On my way out the door to get in the car, a little card fell out of my Bible.  It was a little business card with a scripture verse written on it.

"Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you."  1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I didn't think anything of it at the time, other than wondering how this tiny card managed to fall out of my Bible, and tucked it back in.  Once the message began at church, it was another story, as the entire sermon was about being thankful.  I had to sit up and pay attention, because I knew that God was speaking to me.  That card falling out of my Bible was not accidental, it was a reminder to me.  And as I listened to that message, the gloom kind of slid away.  Our problems are still there, but they're no longer weighing me down and threatening to crush me as they did before.

In everything give thanks.  There are many things to be thankful about with the flat tire.  For one, it happened on the way home from our vacation.  Had it happened on the trip there, we likely would have turned around and went back home, skipping the vacation.  Two, it happened at the perfect time.  It truly did.  We were literally feet away from a vacant lot which was across the street from a gas station.  We could use the vacant lot to change the tire, and could also utilize the gas station for the bathrooms, and air for the spare tire.  Three, we were pulling a trailer with its own set of jacks and tools.  Andy really needed a second jack to be able to navigate underneath the van.  I don't know how he'd have managed without that extra jack for the trailer.  And four, we made it home safe and sound.  The only thing we suffered (besides the obvious of needing new tires) was a loss of a few hours.  We had all the time in the world that day, and we'd made remarkably good time packing up camp and getting on the road.  So we had the time to spare.  The weather was also appropriate.  Had the flat happened closer to where we began our journey home, we'd have found ourselves in rain.  Who wants to change a tire in the pouring rain?  I'm also thankful it happened while Andy was with us.  I cannot change a flat tire myself, and had it happened when it was just the kids and I, I don't know what we would have done.

Overall, there was item after item to be thankful for in regards to that flat tire.  Am I thankful that it happened?  Of course not. But in retrospect, I can see where the devil is trying his hardest to mess us up and wreak havoc upon our lives.  And I see how God is touching things in just the perfect way to prevent these events from being earth-shattering.  I can see His hand of protection upon our family.  That tire had probably been flat for many miles, but God sent His angels to keep our van moving forward to the perfect spot to change a tire.

God is so good.  And I am incredibly thankful.  Our Internet problem was a simple hardware change, and honestly, while I hated spending those days without the computer, it was very enlightening to see exactly how much I got done during the day without the distraction of the computer.  I'm going to be keeping that in mind as my schedule gets more and more overtaken with activities. 

And on top of all that, God took the time and trouble to send me that small message on Sunday morning, which turned out to not be such a small message.  The truth is, God is always speaking to us, but are we willing and able to hear and listen?  I would pray that our hearts and minds would be open to hearing what He has to say to us today.  There is always something He wishes to say to His beloved children.

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