A week and a half ago I was returning from visiting my Mother. She lives in Pennsylvania, about two hours away. We had spent the day having lunch, running errands, and talking together. I had just set out on my expected journey home and was on the road for about fifteen minutes when I was hit hard from the rear. I was stopped in a line of traffic while a car several cars ahead of me was waiting to make a left turn. The driver behind me never hit her breaks, rear ended me, pushed me forward, swiped my passenger side, then slammed into a telephone pole. Thankfully I was able to stop my car before hitting the car in front of me. I sat in my car, shaking for several minutes, and my first call was to Mark, my second was 911, and then my mind began to explore different responses.
I was suddenly sent on an unexpected journey, one I didn’t determine, but now I needed to determine my thoughts.
Sitting in my car, body shaking, I was faced with the choice to go into a place of fear and self-pity, or to consider it as something the Lord intended for good. In that moment there was a battle going on between my flesh and my spirit. Where would my thoughts land?
“My new car!”
“Why didn’t she stop! What’s wrong with her!”
“God, I always thought that Your timing was perfect. But now, if I had left one minute earlier, or one minute later I wouldn’t have been “that car.”
“God, is Your timing always perfect?”
Then I remembered this blog…
This theme…What the enemy means for harm, God intends for good.
Do I really believe what I have been writing? Do I really believe though I can’t determine my unexpected journeys, I can determine my thoughts?
Yes, this is what I believe…
“Ok, yes, it’s my first new car. The one I park far away from other cars in parking lots so I don’t get dinged. It is just a car, it can be fixed.”
“I have no idea why she hit me, but that’s what makes accidents. How many times have I been distracted and almost caused an accident? I know she didn’t wake up that morning with the intention of hitting a nice red Subaru.”
Thankfully the Lord gave me compassion for the other driver as soon as I saw how hurting she was, she took two hard impacts and her airbag never inflated. God has given me incredible grace to pray for her and I have continued to pray that God would reveal Himself to her and bring quick and complete healing.
“God, I’ve always considered Your timing perfect. I’ve always believed You are concerned about every detail of my life.” It was then I realized that I have only thought of God’s timing as perfect when something good has happened. Like the time I was several minutes from the store when I remembered I had forgotten an important item. I turned around and as soon as I entered the store I ran into a friend I needed to see. “God, Your timing is perfect!”
Or the times I get all the green lights when I’m running late, when I get chosen to be the first customer when a new register opens up, when I get the last item on the shelf. These “perfect timing” experiences bring thanks and praise to God. But now, when the “perfect timing” brought harm, do I thank and praise God? I can’t say that I praised and thanked God, but by taking my focus off myself and looking to God my thoughts did begin to change.
Yes, I was “that car.” I was in “that place” at “that time.” But I’m not going to give in to the harm that the enemy would want for me. He would want to bring fear, blame, and doubt to my mind. These thoughts would only keep me in a place of self…self-focus and self-pity. These thoughts would have affected my words. I would have spoken fear over myself, blame toward the other driver, doubt of the goodness of God. My words would have affected those around me, spreading fear, blame, and doubt. This accident could have marked me with harm. But, praise God, my thoughts didn’t stay there. By God’s grace I was able to take those thoughts captive and line them up with His truth. I chose to fear God, and not my loss. I chose to turn blame to compassion. I chose to trust in God’s perfect timing, no matter what. And do you know what? I saw so much good in the smallest, yet amazing ways!
My sister-in-law dropped everything, came and stayed with me in the hospital while I was checked. It was so good to talk with her instead of just being there by myself.
My husband, Mark, immediately drove the two hours, met up with us, and took us out to a really good Italian restaurant.
Mark and I stayed in an incredibly good Inn that night, with a super good firm mattress, that was good for my back and neck.
My son and daughter-in-law took good care of my daughter who had just come home from school to an empty house for the first time.
Because of the change of schedule, my son and daughter spent a good day together in NYC.
Mark and I enjoyed a wonderfully good lunch together on our way home.
These may sound trite. These may seem it’s all about my comfort, but I truly believe that if my mind was focused on myself; if my thoughts were filled with fear, blame, and doubt, I wouldn’t have enjoyed these good things, I wouldn’t have appreciated them, and my words and attitude would have affected me and everyone around me.
This unexpected journey isn’t over yet as I wait for my car to be fixed. I admit sometimes my thoughts still want to go to self. That is when I need to remind myself of God’s goodness and faithfulness, and trust that though it was unexpected to me, He knew about it before the beginning of time. There is never anything unexpected to God and as Jesus said to Peter, “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:32 It comforts me to know that Jesus intercedes for me and that it is His desire that this unexpected journey increases my faith so that I can encourage others as well.