March 15th, 2010

Good day to you, and may God’s grace and favor be upon you, in good times and in challenging times.  I am still on vacation in Florida, with plans to head home sometime next week.  It seems as though I have been gone forever, and once I return home, I truly look forward to seeing what my life will look like now that I have ‘retired.’  My first goal is to return to updating this website on a more regular basis, like I did when I first began this adventure.  My days have been much too cluttered this past year, and yes, I have repented for that and I continue to ask God to show me His plan for my life.  When my time gets too filled up to attend to the most important things, I know that I have piled on too many of my own priorities and am no longer able to attend to His.  Having recognized this problem, I am now asking my Lord to shine a light into my soul to reveal the places where I need healing and realignment.   

I would like to share with you the experience we had this week.  This event allowed us one more opportunity to experience the goodness of God and His favor in our lives.  As you will see, we were the benefactors of numerous miracles along the way.

Tuesday morning my husband had a “lapse in judgment,” you could say.  It is most unusual for him to be careless behind the wheel of an automobile, so I was more than a little bit shocked when he hit another car.  He pulled out of a driveway, drove across two lanes of stopped traffic (where there was a small opening), turned in to the third lane going the other way, and hit an oncoming car.  Perhaps the very first miracle was that we collided with a small Ford, rather than a Bentley or a Jaguar!  Next miracle:  nobody was hurt and the damage was not extensive.  When both cars pulled over to assess the damage and exchange information, my husband realized that he had made an earlier bad decision:  he had left that big automobile reference book home because of limited space in the car.  Guess what? our registration and proof of insurance were also in that book!  Second miracle:  the other guy did not want to call for assistance.  Had he wanted to call the police, we would have been in deep trouble without registration or proof of insurance, perhaps even a trip to the police station since he had no proof of ownership of the car.  The men exchanged insurance information and parted ways.  Before leaving, I went to the man and asked him to forgive us for such a violation.  We called our insurance agent and began the claims process.  Later in the day, the man called to tell us he had gone to the car wash, and much of the damage had actually washed away.  Huh?  Next miracle:  he suggested we not actually file a claim, but instead, we could pay cash out of pocket for his damage.  (This offer was a huge blessing because accidents that are your fault often end up in an increase in insurance rates.)  Next miracle:  the man traveling with us had $600 in cash, so we wrote him a check and then had cash to pay for repairs to the other car.  Later in the day that same traveling companion bought something at Wal-Mart; the next morning we found out what it was.  Next miracle:  in the night he went out with his purchase – a jar of rubbing compound – and rubbed out most of the damage to our car.  The man we hit planned to take his car to the dealership to get an estimate of his damage.  We waited all day for his call, which did not come, so the next morning we headed down the road, fully expecting to have to turn around and go back to pay the man for his damages.

The next day our insurance agent called to inform us that she had just spoken with the guy we had hit.  Next miracle:  the damage to his car was minimal, and he had decided not to file a claim or even ask for any cash from us.  I wondered if he was actually an angel.  He had said to tell us it was our lucky day.  (Of course, we know there is no such thing as ‘luck,’ but we certainly received the blessing!)  Next miracle:  a Florida friend has a close friend who does auto body work so he sent us to him, and for $30 we got our car touched up, almost as good as new.  Praise God; all was almost completely restored and we were back on our way.  However we will be forever changed from the receipt of the blessing of God’s grace, mercy, and favor.

In asking the Lord to show me the lesson in this adventure, He revealed the following.  The first, and smaller, word was a reminder to my husband to be a bit more cautious with his driving.  Over the years, God has taught us that when we begin to stray off the best course for our lives, He will speak to our hearts about that issue.  If we hear and correct our course, all is well.  If we do not hear, He will speak louder.  If we still do not hear and respond, He will then make a louder statement, which usually results in a not-so-much-fun event.  Because God’s love for us is so great, he will continue to make the consequences more severe until we finally stop in our tracks and make the necessary change in course.   The sooner we make the course correction, the lighter the consequences.  Believe me, we ‘heard’ His voice, studied this lesson, took it seriously, and have since been more cautious when making decisions behind the wheel.

The second lesson is by far the more important one.  Because of our love for the Lord, and because it is our desire to be Christlike in all our ways, we really do, for the most part, try to walk in a way that is pleasing to Him.  And because our eyes are usually fixed on that goal, for the most part, our life experiences are pretty sweet.  Although we all have trials, I do believe we can minimize the troubles in our lives by right choices in our daily living.  I would assume we are all in agreement so far.

However, that was NOT the lesson God was teaching us here.  In this case, we were entirely in the wrong; we had made a foolish decision and deserved whatever negative consequences we ordinarily would have received – except for God’s applying His grace, mercy, and favor. 

The message He gave me was this:  “You do not receive favor and mercy because you are good, but because I am good.”  Amen.