This past weekend we packed up and took a trip to North Carolina. We attended a music festival along with some other members of my immediately family. It was an all day event; there was good music, lots of fun for the kids, good weather, etc.
Situation #1: A broken down inconvenience
Afterwards, as we were on our way back to my sister’s house to gather our things for the trip back up to VA, the engine in the van began making a horrible noise. It starting shaking, rocking, and lost its power to keep driving.
I called my sister who was up ahead of us and told her the “good” news. We pulled over, checked things out, and basically it was no longer drivable. What a great way to end a nice day! There we are, cars flying by at 75 mph, a van load of kids, it was getting late, we would have to wait for a tow truck, pay a weekend fee, etc., etc. It was discouraging to say the least.
It’s in these moments that we seem to lose our rational thinking. More notable, though, is that we forget to consider that there possibly may be a purpose in this.
Looking back on this incident, as much of an inconvenience as it was, there were no better circumstances that God could have provided for us than he did then. Let me briefly list them out.
- Our van broke down.
- It was an inconvenience.
- How will we ______? (doubting questions)
This is primarily where my thoughts were. It is essentially where most of our thoughts are in these types of situations. But consider these much weightier provisions:
- We happened to have another vehicle in front of us who could transport the kids back to the house while we figured this out.
- A police stopped, called a tow for us, and gave us a ride into town to wait for my sister to come back to pick us up after dropping off the kids.
- My sister has an extra vehicle which she let us borrow to get back to Virginia and have something to drive in the meantime.
Basically, we had every single need covered in order to immediately get back on our feet.
Now if the story ended here, it would more than demonstrate that we need to take some time in these situations to note God’s provision, even in these unfortunate circumstances. In my instance, there was nothing left unanswered and we were back home in VA by midnight.
But it didn’t end here…..
Situation #2: Just Happened To….
I received a call on Monday that it would be over $1000 to fix the van. What?!? Another inconvenience! Is this worth it? But again it seems there is a greater purpose to this story as well:
Our van had been having some major problems already, and basically he were ignoring it. We had been looking to eventually get another one but we just kept putting it off, even though things were starting to get pretty dicey.
Well, the place they towed the van to just happened to have one used minivan that we had actually been considering. Not only that, but at a great price and in a great condition. The salesman there said he would take our van as a trade in for the other one.
Now lets consider this again: We were procrastinating in getting a much needed new van. We broke down in another state, had it towed to a random shop, and that shop just happened to have the exact type of used minivan that we had been considering buying. Some call it luck. I call it providence, God’s providence.
The Big Picture
So why am I telling this story: Because in many of our unfortunate, uncomfortable misfortunes in life, there is a greater purpose which we may not know immediately, and by default we almost never step back to consider this from the outset. Our first reactions are always despair or frustration. I know mine often are!
However, we should develop the habit of considering from the outset that there is a bigger picture we cannot see. We need to be intentional about this. In addition, we should look at the immediate provisions in our unfortunate circumstances, like the one we went through this past weekend.
There is only one who is sovereign, God. He has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all (Psalm 103:19). There is no chance and there is no luck, there is only the purposes of God. Bookmark that. Remember it in these circumstances. Be quick to recall this before your own doubts consume you. Be intentional.
Let me conclude with three verses that you can memorize to help you consider God’s providence in inconvenience:
- “Consider the work of God: who can make straight what he has made crooked?” (Ecc 7:13). God’s plans cannot be thwarted. Either find comfort and rest in this truth, or continue to wrestle aimlessly through life.
- “Who has spoken and it come to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that good and bad come?” (Lamentations 3:37-38). Note the “good” and the “bad.”
- “The horse is prepared against the day of battle: but safety is of the LORD” (Proverbs 21:31). Preparation is good, but the outcome ultimately is determined by the Lord. It is always best to seek him first.
What are some circumstances in your life in which you rushed into frustration without considering the invisible hand of God in it? Share it in the comments below.