I helplessly looked on as, right in front of me, the tires of the car my husband was driving left their grip on the pavement and started sliding sideways on the ice that had seemed like only slush moments ago. Time seemed to suspend and as if in slow motion, his car was carried over the hill and went careening down into a field near our house. I watched in horror for what felt like an eternity as I waited for his car to come to a stop and prayed it wouldn't flip over. It's weird that even now as I recall this memory weeks later that my hands are trembling.
We had left our house that morning, me following behind his car in my own, in order to drop mine off for some work to be done. Not to leave you in suspense or anything, :-) but Matt is totally fine and the car did not in fact flip over. You would think that this in and of itself would be the silver lining. God however, has been teaching me in this season of uncertainty to look much deeper for the ways in which He is trying to bless me even amidst the struggles.
I guess for this story to make sense I'll need to give a little background about the car to begin with....
As we are still waiting for our house in Maryland to sell, (one year and counting as of the beginning of this month) we decided that in order to ease a bit of our monthly financial burdens we would get rid of the car Matt was driving and trade it in for something less expensive. Less expensive turned out to be a car on ebay. In Chicago. :-) Anyone who knows my husband, also knows that if it's not an adventure, it's not worth doing. So off to Chicago he went. He was having reservations about the car before he even left the dealer but decided to go through with the purchase. On the 12 hour drive back to Virginia, issue after issue seemed to come up making him even more anxious about the reliability of this car for the long term. So he gets it back home and after a ridiculously long, complicated dance with the DMV the car is, for better or worse, legal.
Wouldn't you know that JUST the week previous to the accident we had raised our collision deductible, also in an effort to save money. It definitely would have been easy to let my thoughts "camp out" on this idea alone. It certainly has been a struggle for me in some areas to remain positive when my natural tendency can be to lean toward the negative and dwell on it at times. But God had an almost ironic silver lining tucked carefully in this story. :-) One that my husband and I couldn't help but get a chuckle from. When we got the call from the garage about all that would need to be fixed on his car, do you know what was on that list? Every single item that Matt had been concerned about with the car previously! Now, not that it's not a strain to try to scrape together the deductible...but I can't help but notice the blessing of having all the issues with the car fixed for much less than we would have had to pay outright. And the added blessing that the reliability of the car in the long-run will be more likely.
This is just a silly illustration of something much bigger that I think God tries to teach His children in every circumstance. Sometimes we take the time to stop and look for what He's doing in the midst of trials, even if we don't understand them. Being willing to ride them out and wait for God to accomplish His bigger picture. At other times, we want to rush through the trial, never looking to the left or right, only focused on figuring our own way out of what we never wanted to be in to begin with. It's when I rush through the tough spots that I miss the little gifts tucked in along the way as reminders that God's eyes are always on me, and He knows just how much I can take, will never give me more than He'll equip me to handle, and will always, if I am willing, make me a better person who is better able to accomplish His purpose for my life BECAUSE of the tough spot, not in spite of it.
"But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed...All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God. Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:7-9, 15-18)
"Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!...He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when He hears it, He will answer you." (Isaiah 30:18-19)
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." (James 1:17)