Its been an interesting week….
My wife and I drive about 50 miles a day in opposite directions to work. Her car has been in the shop for repairs, no problem, we have three cars.
And then the transmission went out on my car.
Now we have two
With three people including our teenage daughter going in different directions we are now sharing my daughters car and a 20 year old Nissan Maxima with 200k miles, (my daughters first car) that we kept just in case…
On Friday we received word that the problem with my wife’s vehicle had been identified and repaired and with great celebration we drove to the garage to pick it up.
Saturday morning the plan was to get new tires put on, I got up early ,got in the car turned the key,
Just as before it would not start.
I would like to tell you as a man of great faith and I was not moved by this setback, or frustrated or even a little bit angry.
But I would be not be telling the truth if I did. I was angry, frustrated, and my anger and frustration eventually affected everyone around me.
Today 24 hours removed I recalled a text from a good friend earlier in the week that asked this question.
“When you are in the middle of demanding times waiting for God to pull you out from under your obstacle, what is your attitude?”
The scripture reference and the answer to the question, is from Hebrews 12:2 that begins with a reminder about a great crowd, witnesses to the life of faith, (reference Hebrews 11) and the instruction “to strip off every weight that slows me down, especially the sin that so easily trips me up, and run with endurance the race God has set before me.”
Weight that slows me down. Check.
Sin that trips me up. Check.
Running with endurance. Not so much.
The picture I see in my mind that would describe the race I was running on Saturday looked like this. If you have ever attended any type of race, (I will use NASCAR as my point of reference since I am from the south), there is great anticipation as you wait for the race to begin.
The engines begin to roar, and then finally the green flag comes down.
The cars unleashed move swiftly from the starting line and the race is on
Except for one car (that would be mine)
then dies and does not move.
That was my race on Saturday.
The crowd was waiting expectantly, the green flag was down but I never made it off of the starting line. The weight of my anger and disappointment, natural human emotions when things go wrong, gave place to sin when my emotions were left unchecked, resulting in hurt feelings, and failing to set an example of what a godly man looks like under pressure.
Granted a car that will not start is a minor thing in the big picture of life, but if I am unable to cope with that, and run that race that God has set before me, what will happen when the bigger things come as they surely will?
I would like to wrap this up in a nice neat package, of how to and not to, along with the bullet points that would prevent it from happening the next time, but the challenge most likely will be different next time. And if there is a moral to my story, or wisdom to be gained it from it, it is found in verse 2 of Hebrews 12.
“Let us run with long endurance the long race set before us. Now stay focused on Jesus, who designed and perfected our faith”
It is long race we are running not a sprint but a marathon and endurance or perseverance is required.
In our men’s group we have a saying “”No Days Off””. From this statement we acknowledge that in the life of faith and the spiritual warfare we encounter there are no days off.
No days where we let our guard down.
It is the same with keeping my focus on Jesus everyday.
When I start the day with prayer I am renewing that focus, and I am in the presence of the One who knows what the day holds. Even cars that won’t start, and transmissions that fail.
And in spite of that and other difficulties that will come my way, He is The One who is the designer, perfecter and finisher of our faith,
He will keep me running in the race of life and take me across the finish line.