"Everything helps me to Him."
-Jean-Pierre de Caussade (1675-1751)
That quote captured my heart, and my heart cried out "Lord, make this my cry forever-- that I would let all things readily bring me to You!" It also came to be a wonderful theme of my trip to Nashville, as I will explain momentarily. Seems like God was arranging a nice little theme for the next 2 days of my life. Speaking further of that quote and that man, John Beevers writes: "...that is a cardinal principal of his. All things are sent and governed by God, and, however troublesome they are, they will, if accepted gladly, lead us surely and quickly toward holiness."
So my trip to Nashville, right. If you're wondering why I was going to Tennesee instead of my 'new Kentucky home,' it's because my Dad's sister Robin lives in Nashville with her family, and I figured seeing and encouraging her and her family would be worth the detour of a day. I'd gotten gas only a day before, so decided to drive straight out and just stop when I needed to, which I guessed would probably be around lunch time. (I left at 10:15) So off I went, with a marvelously encouraging sermon by Ravi Vander Laan (read an article similar to the sermon I heard) ringing in my ears. "Just how badly do you want to be like your Rabbi!?" He asked. The Spirit whispered to me that today, just like every day, I'd have the chance to become more like Him. And He definitely provided that!
Around 12, I stopped to fill up, and the nice couple in front of me at the pump said "It looks like your hood is smoking." Hmmm... I pulled up the hood, and gasped! My oil-cap had been laid on top of the radiator instead of replaced when the oil was added by my sweet Dad just before I left. Oil was all over the engine- thence the smoke- and worst of all WASN'T in the engine! I quickly added oil (I'm an expert by now) and left the hood up and chilled in the shade about half an hour so the engine could cool off. Immediately I began to think about all the 'what-if's-- what if I'd been going straight to Louisville (through the mountains for the first 2 hours), what if I'd filled up the night before and so hadn't stopped (I usually drive from G-ville to L-ville with no gas-stops), what if, what if... I could very easily have had my engine explode. As it was, nothing happened. What Mercies are hidden in near misses!
About 45 minutes later, just on the other side of Chatenooga, I felt the now-familiar shaking that comes when one loses a tire. "Not again!" I sighed as I pulled off. At least it wasn't raining this time. My right rear tire was slashed-- I either ran over something that sliced through a belt, or it was just a bum tire. I had to laugh, though. How many tires is Dad going to have to buy for me before he finishes the Tweel? How in the world I'd change this tire, especially considering I had no spare with me, and all my tools were under all my stuff in the trunk, I didn't know. So I did the sensible thing. I called my Daddy. Why did I ever think being a Daddy's Girl was such a negative thing?
"You're not gonna believe this..." I started. He was not surprised at all, lol. I think he was expecting at least one minor mishap on this trip. I was overdue for one. Well, let me just tell you that having a father who both desires and is able to care for you is WONDERFUL! He "just happened" to be at his computer, and was quickly able to pull up my location on a map, locate the nearest service station, call a towing company to get me, and pay for any repairs or parts Max'd need. I got picked up, Max got all fixed up, and we were on the road again in under an hour and a half!
While at the service-station, enjoying the air-conditioning at the hottest part of the day (otherwise I'd have been sweating and being further sun-burned in my au natural car), I grabbed the first book I could get out of my bag-- a little book from a dear friend, Jacqui. Its title forms the title of this post, and gave birth to most of this entry's forethought. I haven't finished it yet, but I'll let ya know how it goes. Immediately I was struck by the "coincidence" of me reading THIS book at THIS time, in THIS place. Divine providence indeed.
The service-station guys treated me very kindly, going out of their ways to get "the little lady's" tire replaced lickity-split, and cleaning my engine of the oil that was everywhere. One guy even drew me a diagram to tell me where a little leak in a radiator gasket was. Very cool. They seemed singularly impressed with my Dad's care for me. It actually provided me with an opportunity to be more public in my thanksgiving for my Dad-- letting them know I count it a BLESSING, God's kindness, to have a father who looks out for me. As I left, the owner called out, "You make sure you call your Daddy to tell him you're on the road again, all right?!" And I did.
"It is the kindness of God that leads us to repentance..." (Rom. 2:4, paraphrase)
So many near-misses, so many instances where God kept me and even my belongings from serious harm or detriment. In this world of sin there are no guarantees except that bad things WILL happen. But Divine Providence has bound Himself by Covenant to guarantee that each turn of fate's wheel, however minute, is meant to bring the Christian nearer Himself. "In Thy presence is fullness of joy"-- God is always plotting for our JOY! (Psalm 16:11) Every one of those experiences was a chance for me to grow in trust in my Father, to see anew the way He's blessed me with the love of my family, to marvel at the precision and restraint of "calamity" He allows and to give thanks for a joyful spirit, and humor!, amidst all the setbacks. I'd much rather be thankful than worried or stressed!! Makes life much more enjoyable-- most likely because it draws me nearer to Jesus.
I listened to John Piper's sermon, "Ruth: the Best is Yet to Come" (on Ruth 4) this morning, and it was right along these lines. "God is plotting for our joy even as we bellyache at Him!" I am resolved to skip the bellyaching and go straight to the rejoicing. So remind me of that when I don't. :)
Full of joy and fully thankful,
--Christina ...two states closer to Ryan...
"The truly faithful soul accepts all things as a manifestation of God's grace, ignores itself and thinks only of what God is doing." ~J-P de C